The Value of Vulnerability
August 17, 2012Posted by pamela |
Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Melissa Lapides, Marin mom, licensed marriage and family therapist, and parent educator.
Becoming a mother is a life-changing event for many people and usually women don’t know exactly what to expect. Many times you imagine your life as a mother based on stories you have heard from other women, media or your own relationship with your mother. You hear about the joys of motherhood, you hear about the changes in your relationships, you may even hear about how big of a transformation motherhood could be.
It is not always though that you hear the depths of how intense it is to devote yourself so deeply to another human being. Mothering is truly a deep practice of patience and compassion. Being able to nurture your children in such a way can be completely depleting at times. This is hard for most mothers to admit to one another.
Mothering is a practice of constant balancing and making sure not just the basic survival needs of the children are getting met, but also the physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Day in and day out of problem solving, nurturing and giving so much of yourself can be quite a task.
It seems there is always a certain amount of self-doubt and guilt that mothers carry. The job of raising a child seems so much more important than anything else that you have done in your life. This is a living being and you are responsible for the outcome. Wow, that is a really a heavy statement to endure. The truth is that there is no such thing as perfection. As much as you strive to achieve it, it is unattainable and yet most mothers have the constant pressure of “getting it right”.
The problem is that there is so much shame about admitting what may be difficult. It is so important for mothers to not only discuss milestones that their children are reaching or what is on sale at the mall, but also to talk about challenges and the parts of motherhood that aren’t always pleasant.
It seems that vulnerability is so undervalued in our society that it prevents mothers from having true community. Although, being truthful about these difficulties can bring about real connection between women. This level of connection is essential when raising children. You cannot form community without people really knowing all parts of yourself, both good and bad. First though, you need to accept and honor those parts of yourself.
If you have no real community as a mother, it is easy to fall right into a depression. It is easy to believe that you may not be doing things “right”. The more you can be vulnerable and really connect about your process, the more confidence you will gain in the long run. It is so important for mommies to have other mommy friends that you can share deeply with.
So why is it so hard to be vulnerable? The overwhelming idea of having to be a “perfect mother” may make you feel like you may judged if you admit your having trouble with certain aspects of mothering or your relationship. The truth is that the self-doubt, the trouble grappling to find your inner strength and the persistence and ability to not give in are things that every mom experiences to some level. These are struggles that every human being experiences to some level.
Why is that that it may seem like mothering comes so easy for some? When you are food shopping you may see another mom out with her four well-behaved children at her side. So why do you struggle with bringing just one to the market? The truth is that there are many different factors that come into play. Children have different temperaments and frustration levels and so do mothers.
Besides when you are out and see other mom’s with their kids, you are only seeing what is on the outside, on the inside you are probably having such similar struggles. Mother’s need to connect more about what is truly going on in their lives, the good, the bad and everything in between. Deep connections can bring about more health and wellbeing not only to mom, but also to the whole family.
Five rules for mothers to live by:
- Find a best friend that is also a mother. Someone you can express your darkest feelings to and know they won’t judge you. Talk, talk and keep talking.
- Know there is no such thing as perfection. Try your best, and accept where you are.
- Find something you love to do and do it as often as possible. Nurture yourself and don’t expect anyone else to do it for you.
- Be honest with yourself, know your limits and honor them. Try not to take on more than you can handle.
- Mother your children by your own family values and nobody else’s.
Melissa Lapides is a licensed marriage and family therapist, mother of three young children, and a parent and birth educator. Her passion is to empower and support parents, as she knows how challenging it can be. She is the founder of Parenthood Partners in Kentfield which offers family counseling, in home parent coaching, individual and couples counseling and parenting groups. Look for upcoming groups on "Finding patience for your strong willed child" forming over the summer. www.parenthoodpartners.com