One day I got to thinking about all of these moments that I have....all of these parts that a mother is made up of and began to question the phrase..."the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
I question this theory because in motherhood, you have to draw upon a lot. Some days it's finding new ways to break up the predictability, other days it's getting some encouragement from a friend or relative, others it's trying to understand a new childhood stage by reading a helpful article or book. To me, each of those little parts make a BIG difference and are how I keep on with experiencing a positive outlook. The growth of children also seem to defy that phrase....they don't just all of sudden show up on your doorstep one day as this perfect grown up, they're composed of every little thing you've put into them and every experience you made happen for them. I therefore think the parts that make parents parents and children children are GREATER than the whole parts of their roles or life stages. I make this observation because I sometimes hear statements like "they don't remember the time before they're 4 or 6 years old anyway..." or "it gets easier once they get older." To me, the end goal isn't to just hurry up and be done with growing. The goal is to joyfully experience life. It's all of those little parts, our special idiosyncrasies that make us into capable, caring, and unique human beings; parts that I now cherish more than ever.
I caught a post from this blog the other day that did a fantastic job of defying the "box" that mothers are often quick to define themselves by. I love how she phrased this:
"We're women. We are multi-faceted. We don't have to fit into a box. We follow our own rhythms and we celebrate our movements that may change over the course of aging, mothering, learning, exploring, loving." -Kelle Hampton
It really made me think back to the early months with our first born. I remember having lots of friends excited to come by and meet our son and I was happy to see them all, just on the terms I felt most comfortable with. Some may view this as being overly protective, but it's what felt right. We waited a long time to meet him and wanted to do everything to keep him as safe and healthy as possible. I remember a few people offering to get me out of the house, but I was in no hurry. Really. I don't know if this is because I'm naturally a bit of a homebody, or if I was just completely taken by our awesome little man (probably both), but I stayed home A LOT during his first few months and I loved it.
Then the holidays hit. I'm always one for a party, and knew lots more friends and relatives were eager to see and meet our baby, but when it came down to being part of numerous people with our still very newborn son, I found myself in a bit of a frenzy. Since fall of 2009 is when the H1N1 scare broke, we were still pretty germ conscious, and since our baby was still under 6 months old, we were told by our doctor that we were still in the "worry zone" for little ones especially during flu season. It's not like we didn't go out anywhere, we were just very cautious. Still, we felt like we had to justify some of our decisions to avoid judgements regarding the type of parents we were when really, we were still coming into our own. I now know how normal it is for families to take some time to find what works best for them.
Come mid-January of 2010, I went back to just laying low with our son. Nothing else in the world was more important to me than bonding with him and I knew I would never have time like that with him again. Most of our days were spent snuggling, nursing, and taking naps together. I was no longer counting down the days until he turned 6 months but truly just enjoying him, and me as a new mom. I had similar moments with Grant, just in a shorter window of time. Ohhhh, how thankful I am to have had that cherished time. I still very much enjoy spending my days with them and am so thankful for the security that comes from me staying at home with them. Meaningful Motherhood Moments such as these are very powerful for me to reflect upon.
Over the years I've learned what a tricky balance motherhood is, one that I think is described very well in this article [part one] and this article [part two]. To end this post, here's a beautiful motherhood quote found here.
"Motherhood is a hallowed place
because children aren’t commonplace.
Co-laboring over the sculpting of
souls is a sacred vocation, a
- Ann Voskamp