From being a good mother to true mothering

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From being a good mother to true mothering

True mothering, of our children or another, comes from a knowing and wisdom within that supports and allows that other person to grow and develop without imposition. Mothering from a place of comfort with the goal of being a good mother, while seemingly ‘comfortable’, is not comfortable. So what does this even mean?

Mothering from ‘comfort’ generally means providing comfort to those around us, and while this sounds loving, it is the conditions, control, recognition and need that are intertwined with this ‘comfort’ that makes it uncomfortable and unloving.

I know that when I had children I had many pictures of what the experience should look and be like, including how my children would physically look! There were cute kids in magazines and books on ‘how to be a good parent’ everywhere. There was also the patterning of all the mothers around me. I wasn’t fully aware of these pictures at the time, but they managed to sneak in over the years and pollute the way I raised my children, setting up false expectations borne out of false ideals, pictures or ‘rules’ around what it was to be a good mother, both for my children and myself.

"A message to all mothers:

It is wiser to mother from your innate knowing rather than from the ideals and beliefs that flood your head."

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 547

These pictures and ideals fed to me that to be a good mother, you must be all for your children. You must meet others’ needs first, including those of your spouse, and if you even dare to ask, much less put yourself first, you are selfish. What a lie! From this angle, we, as mothers, provide ‘comfort’, but how can this possibly be comfortable when we have compromised who we are as a woman and reflect this compromise to those around us, especially our children, as being ok?

I know I have mothered from this place of ‘comfort’ and there were often conditions, control and recognition attached to this comforting, whether it be around providing food and running household chores and schedules, whether it be around expectations of how my children should look and act, the clothes that were ‘appropriate’ and ‘safe’ for them to wear that projected a picture, what sports and school activities they should engage in ‘to be part of something’ and how ‘hard’ they should ‘try’ or how well they should ‘perform’; whether it be around how I should look and act, the clothes I chose to wear to ‘blend in’ with other mothers, the baking and provision of ‘comfort’ food ... but ultimately much of it came back to me wanting to either feel ‘good’ or ‘needed’ or to be ‘recognised’ or ‘fit in’ in some way. But in the end, this ‘comforting’ felt uncomfortable. It caused disquiet within me and a tension between myself and my children.

True mothering has no conditions, no control, no ideals and no pictures. It is about nurture – self-nurturing by a mother and the nurture of those around her. By nurturing myself through looking at the detail of how I treated myself – how I rose and showered in the morning, how I dressed and moved, what foods I chose to nourish my body, what thoughts I allowed in, to how I approached my tasks, work and relationships – I naturally extended this nurturing beyond myself and into how I cared for others and in this my children became my teachers.

When my mothering came from a place of need, control or expectation, I could feel them tense and withdraw, then when I mothered from a place of self-nurturing, their bodies relaxed when there were no underlying demands or strings attached. This reflection was an absolute gift and allowed me to slowly start to drop all the conditions, let go of the ideals around being a good mother such as the pictures of how they should look, how they should act, what activities they should engage in, or what I should get back in return and to eventually drop mothering from ‘comfort’ and move to a place of true mothering which then provided all of us – me, my children and my husband – with the space that was needed to truly support one another to flourish and be ourselves.

Filed under

MotherhoodParentingRaising childrenFamily

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    By Susan Potter, B.Sc, B.Com, Dip Aud, Dip Counselling.

    I am a tender, loving woman who Ioves life and supporting others, both personally, through family/friendship/relationship and through work, supporting people to support themselves with health and disability challenges.

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    Photography: Rebecca Wingrave, Photographer

    I am a tender and sensitive woman who is inspired by the playfulness of children and the beauty of nature. I love photographing people and capturing magical and joyful moments on my camera.