| Moth­ers and moth­er­ing

Per­sonal in­sights from some of the Liv­ing now women on what it means to be a mother.

Living Now - - Editorial -

Per­sonal in­sights from some of the Liv­ing­now women on what it means to be a mother

HOW BE­ING A MUM KEEPS ME YOUNG by Jus­tine Dyas, our long­est serv­ing ad­min and all-rounder, who re­cently left

I’ve been par­ent­ing for the past 25 years, most of it on my own. I am blessed with three won­der­ful hu­mans: 25yo fe­male, 16yo male, 11yo fe­male. I’ve got some big age gaps amongst my kids; so have the ex­pe­ri­ence of par­ent­ing at dif­fer­ent stages of my life. This has its pros and cons – like ev­ery­thing in life.

One of the most im­por­tant things I’ve learnt is re­lat­ing. You know… you’re stressed, bills need to be paid, the car’s bro­ken down, the cat’s vom­ited in the bed­room, wash­ing needs to be done and a child is freak­ing out over some (in your per­cep­tion) mi­nus­cule thing that is soooo ir­rel­e­vant to your adult ex­pe­ri­ence at the time! It’s an­noy­ing and frus­trat­ing! But take that mo­ment and re­mem­ber. Re­mem­ber when you were that age, re­mem­ber how you felt, re­mem­ber how im­por­tant that ‘mi­nus­cule’ thing was to your younger self. Drop all the adult ‘im­por­tance’… and re­mem­ber… and feel… and be that younger self. Re­late and un­der­stand… to your child and your­self. You’ve been there; you’ve been that age. Help them to un­der­stand what they’re go­ing through is im­por­tant… to them and to you. And re­con­nect with your younger you.

MY MUM, MY ROLE MODEL by Phillipa Huynh, web geek

Although she is no longer with us, I feel hon­oured to have had such a pro­gres­sive, wise and down-to-earth woman as my mum. A teacher for over 40 years, my mum was the woman to give the ‘naughty’ kid a cud­dle be­cause she looked be­yond the be­hav­iour to the lit­tle child in need of love. She was the woman you could ask life’s most dif­fi­cult ques­tions and ex­pect thor­oughly con­sid­ered an­swers. And she was the woman you could have a good belly laugh with – even if it was at her own ex­pense. I miss my mum more than any words could do jus­tice. But she lives on in my at­ti­tudes to­wards my son’s be­hav­iour, through my work im­part­ing my own wis­dom, and through my abil­ity to have a good laugh at my­self and stay grounded. I may have lost my mum, but I con­sider my­self very lucky to have grown up with her as my role model.

A LOVE SO DEEP by Sonya Mur­phy, graphic de­signer

I re­mem­ber the day I be­came a mother like it was yes­ter­day. I spent a ner­vous nine months not know­ing what to ex­pect of moth­er­hood. At 2.20am on 22nd July, 1987, my daugh­ter was born. Placed into my arms shortly af­ter birth, her eyes open wide, she looked in­tensely into mine, deeply into my soul. Two years later I had the same ex­pe­ri­ence when my sec­ond daugh­ter was born. The first con­nec­tion be­tween new­born and mother: soul-to-soul, pure love.

I ex­pe­ri­enced that con­nec­tion again when my mother was on her deathbed. Three days and nights I spent by her side, at times sleep­ing fit­fully in a chair, con­stantly hold­ing her hand. Oc­ca­sion­ally she would open her eyes and look deeply into mine, the en­ergy of love pal­pa­ble.

The con­nec­tion I had with my mother is the same con­nec­tion I have with my daugh­ters – a love so deep it can never be bro­ken, a true soul con­nec­tion.

DOES YOUR CUP RUN­NETH OVER, OR RUN DRY? by Sharon Jack­son, ad­min and all-rounder

I be­lieve that in or­der to fully give to, and be present with, our chil­dren, it’s im­por­tant to look af­ter our­selves, and to fill our own ‘plea­sure tanks’ first. This en­ables us to be gen­er­ous with the over­flow and to set the ex­am­ple for chil­dren that it is healthy for them to look af­ter and love them­selves.

There can be a lot of so­ci­etal shame con­di­tioned into us for look­ing af­ter our own needs first, but it is very dif­fi­cult to fully nur­ture and love oth­ers if we can­not prop­erly look af­ter our­selves.

DO THEY KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM? by Elizabeth Jewell Stephens, found­ing ed­i­tor

My chil­dren mean more to me than any­thing else. Maybe this is be­cause I’ve lost a cou­ple of ba­bies, maybe it’s be­cause I was adopted (though my adop­tive mother was ex­tremely lov­ing and would do any­thing for me), maybe it’s be­cause I have a Can­cer moon, or else it’s the way every­one else feels any­way – who knows, and will I ever have the an­swer?

I have two rea­sons for say­ing that I am not sure if my chil­dren un­der­stand my com­plete de­vo­tion to them. First, I am not very good at ex­press­ing my love out­wardly. As we all have our sto­ries, I’m not go­ing to spec­u­late on why this is, ex­cept to say that a tad of Asperger’s could be weighed in. Se­condly, I’ve spent 28 years seem­ingly pay­ing more at­ten­tion to edit­ing and pub­lish­ing this mag­a­zine than rais­ing the fam­ily.

What have I learnt from this? If I am re­ally hon­est, I have to ad­mit that I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mum, and the kids say that I am ADD (and I ad­mit that there is enough ev­i­dence to more than hint at this). My con­clu­sion is that I have not learnt any­thing. How­ever, I am learn­ing that I don’t have to be guilty. It’s just the way it is – same as all of life.

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