Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Definition Of 'Mother'

Reading beautiful Elisa's Grateful post @ With Grace & Eve last weekend served as a great reminder of what motherhood really means to moi.

The Oxford dictionary definition really sells us short :
'a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth'

For many (most?) of us, motherhood transcends a physical experience of gestation or birth.
For some of us it doesn't even include those factors.

When I think of my own Mum, her beauty certainly goes well beyond the gifting of life.

Whilst there's no words to accurately or fully convey the depth of this 'mothering' gig (just try explaining it to an expectant Mum), there's definitely more to it than a single day (or more - eeeek!) of labouring.

I couldn't describe all my 'Mummy' feelings/thoughts coherently if I sat here for nights on end, but I do like to remind myself of the 'truth' of Mumming when I get a little bogged down.

It's not in the everyday (usually mundane) tasks that we do for our families - although the washing, cooking, shopping, cleaning, taxi-ing, provision of basic essentials etc. etc. etc. are all important to our children and/or partners.

I give too much emphasis to these things much of the time.
All those lists and chores and 'must remember to...s' that cloud my perspective.

'Real' parenting/mothering is in the comforting, nurturing, encouraging, exploring and engaging.
(And I'm only in my 'Mum infancy' four years and one (almost two) children in.)

It's in the stuff they'll recall far more easily than the state of our floors.

It's in...
The being called in the middle of the night to soothe fears.
In the attempts to bring down a fever or ease pain.
Tending to superhero injuries.
Encouraging them through a challenge.
Being there at the end of a tough day at school/sport/care.
Advocating for them when necessary.
Deciding when to push them beyond their comfort zone so that they can grow and when to pull back and give them time to get there by themselves.
Treading that fine line of teaching them about the reality of failure or disappointment and protecting them from pain or heartbreak.
Yes, I absolutely feel like a Mum when I'm filling my trolley and answering question after question after question or singing silly songs in the car.

But, I have never felt so 'motherly' than when in the throes of the heavy stuff.

I have felt the weight of motherhood so distinctly when rocking my baby in the Emergency Department as he asked for help in the only way he knew how - loudly.
When tapping into instincts I didn't know I had, to care for a convulsing Magoo.
During sleepless nights of worry and analysing.
When forcing myself to fib, smile and reassure my child when inwardly I want to crawl into someone's lap and sob as he is.
As when watching proudly (or anxiously) as he negotiates unfamiliar territory all by himself.

What does 'Mother' mean to you?

Shar :-)


Toni said...

You are SO right. Anyone can do the housework and the grocery shopping. Mums raise children.

Elisa {with grace and eve} said...

So beautiful! You amazing mum! Such strength, beauty and wisdom in your words. Thank you so much for the mention xx

Mama of 2 boys said...

Oh so true Shar. I often say to Scott that if my days were simply about cooking, cleaning, clothing, bathing etc etc... it would be physically tiring, but easy enough.
Oh NO, the hard stuff is the rest of it, as you have described here. To me, THAT is being a mother. The rest of it... so eloquent of me.
Comforting, guiding, nurturing is the tough stuff.
You'll be a great Mama of two xoxo

Kate Sins said...

Gawd, it's really complex isn't it? If there wasn't the emotion, and the forever-ness behind it things would be so simple, it would be so easy. x

Jane said...

Oh Shar. You gorgeous girl. How I wish I could hug you now. You are going through so much. Your grace and courage are so moving to witness. Hang in there, Sweetheart. J x