Motherhood is a spiritual journey that rarely feels transcendent, but brings an unfolding and growth to anyone who enters. The lessons often come when we look back at where we’ve come from.
My inner piece will lead to your inner peace
By now, every mother has heard the adage about putting on her own oxygen mask before putting on her child’s in the event of an emergency while flying. We’re TOLD to do this. We’re told we NEED to do this. But, it’s still not an easy path to contemplate. No one can tell us quite HOW to do it because the path is different for each individual. One woman’s process is another woman’s nightmare.
To find your inner peace, you must:
1. Define the path that will take you there
2. Start carving out time to walk on that path
3. Mange the incessant guilt that will be alongside you on that path
4. Maintain whatever it is that defines you and allows you to feel connected to something outside of motherhood.
It’s a slower paced journey in a faster paced world
Our longing for spiritual nurturance and growth does not stop when we become moms. However, the process changes. It takes a longer amount of time to travel a shorter distance. Patience is a skill to be learned in relation to our children, but also in relation to our Selves. Motherhood takes you from a life devoted to your Self to a life devoted to others. What we don’t often realize in the midst of motherhood is that devoting ourselves to others does – indeed – nurture our soul.
The pains of labor provided an unknowing glimpse into our future
If only we knew. People tell us beforehand about the lack of sleep and to enjoy our free time, but we are truly incapable of grasping the meaning behind those words. That is, until we arrive at that place. Each labor is different. Each labor is an unknown – even if you’ve been through it before; even if you created a birth plan. You just never know. And, that’s pretty much the clearest outlook for the future too. You just don’t know.
We continue to experience pain throughout motherhood. We watch our children struggle through physical ailments and growing up pains. We watch as they suffer through our mistakes and then go on to make their own. Through the pains of labor, however, came birth. And birth comes again and again throughout life.
Either you can brood or you can drink pina coladas
Spirituality has a lot to do with attitude. With the proper perspective and the correct dose of alcohol (just kidding – I don’t drink; that’s what I mean about attitude – you need a little humor on the side), any mother can manage what life has to dole out. Imagine how different folding laundry would be with a cute, little umbrella in your drink. My childhood friend and I used to pretend to smoke thin pretzel sticks. I tried that the other day when I was listening to my boys fighting over who was going to get to use daddy’s socket wrenches. I just pulled out my bag of pretzels, broke one in half to use as a match, and lit one up. I sat at the kitchen table with my smoke and my (root) beer and watched calmly as the three boys ripped apart the pipes under my kitchen sink.
There IS spirituality in motherhood
If you think you’re not a praying women, then think about this…. How often do you pray that your husband will arrive home on time? How about before entering the grocery store - that this trip will be in and out without anyone hurting each other? Or, that you won’t leave the store and realize you have forgotten an item you absolutely have to go back in for? Have you ever said, “Please, god, let my screaming baby fall asleep so I don’t have to go back in there again”? Or, how about the plea that your son will make the basketball team he’s been working so hard to get on?
There are also those moments of praying to plead with your child and, in essence, attempting to appeal to the Divine spark within them: “PLEASE quiet down so I can finish this conversation with the school administrator telling him why you belong in kindergarten next year”; “PLEASE listen to me the first time I ask you to do something. We can add three hours to our day if I don’t have to repeat myself so much”; “PLEASE, eighteen-month old daughter – stop making your older brothers cry. PLEASE stop high-ya’ing them”.
Finding the sanctity in motherhood is not always easy. You may have to search a little harder to experience those divine moments, but they do exist.
Please note – this is about sanctity, not sanity. And, while sanity may be missing from the lives of many mothers, I think we can declare that we are all deeply spiritual beings.