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