This is my third mother's day on the record actively living out this daily role of my life. I have to say, every year reminds me of the heavy connection that exists between our culture and the concept of mothering. It makes me sad that our culture blames mothers for almost everything wrong with society because women, as a species, whether they have children or not, women are the deepest feelers, lovers, and caretakers. However, with this intuitive power also comes the ability to voluntarily take on a significant amounts of shame and guilt. Mothering is a minefield of shame and guilt. I don't think I ever really understood the concept of shame until I gave birth to my daughter.
As a teenager and young adult I was always very sure of myself. I thought I knew who I was, where I was going, and who I wanted to be for the rest of my existence (I can just see my mother blinking and nodding in agreement as she reads this, probably thinking "I told you so."). Then, I gave birth to my daughter. Becoming a parent is like graduating from college all over again-rediscovering yourself all over again--except this time you have this little offspring that carries your DNA inside of you that you are required to care for and mold into a responsible adult who accurately reflects our job performance in the parenting role or so society tells us---or so this is the lie we tell ourselves OR, more accurately, this is the lie I told myself. But I don't write or create photographs on the blog to talk about lies, I create to talk about truth. So here's the truth that I have come to understand:
Motherhood has less to do with the way we relate to our kids and more about the way we model acts of faith, hope, and love in the relationships they see us in.
Children learn to love significant others by watching us relate to our spouses and partners. They learn about the power of friendships by watching us take time for our friends. They learn to understand boundaries by watching us create boundaries for ourselves. Children learn about living life, when we accurately show them the way we to do life. You want to be a good parent: go live the life that you dream your children to live. We are going to fail, but we can model resiliency. Our job is to do life with our kids and in front our kids, in all its messiness, confusion, beauty and complexity. It also our job to model the value of character defining moments and where God meets us in the process.
Happy Mother's Day!!