Well, what a week to be writing about motherhood. Here's a song to start you off:
This whole deal with parenting songs came from a friendship I developed years ago with Lauren Robinson, who was a camp counselor with me back in the day. We both grew up and grew into ourselves and found things to do. Lauren became a fantastic Doula! She's based in Knoxville, TN, and you can find her website here: Lauren Robinson. A few weeks back she and I were talking about creative partnerships and we came up with a crazy idea to continue this mothering conversation in the form of some songs! So, I hope you have enjoyed the first one. Below are some of my thoughts about motherhood . . .
Yesterday was International Women's Day. I couldn't help but smile to myself as the day came and went with a total melt down from my sweet almost 2 year old in our local Cracker Barrel restaurant, a long discussion about our complex family schedule and several things I'd have to forego to make it work this week, and the ever present conflict between being a working woman and a mother whose spouse is often traveling for business.
Not only did all of the above take place, but then one day later (today) many of my musical friends, colleagues, and former classmates headed to ACDA 2017 to have their musical souls fed . . . while I stayed here to hold down the fort, work, and be Mama. As I see pictures of some of my dearest friends from several chapters of my professional life meeting and greeting each other, I feel pangs of jealousy and longing.
In another month another group of my dearest musical friends will head to the OAKE 2017 conference to be among other Kodaly teachers. My music teaching soul mates will meet for meals and discussion. They'll listen to beautiful concerts and go to workshops taught by the best of the best. And, again, I will be here. I'll be here because it didn't fit in the budget or the schedule, and because . . . again . . . I'm Mama.
As mothers we do sometimes get away and we do sometimes get to do the things we want to. We do sometimes get to be ourselves and be by ourselves. But most of the time we're covered up in the dance of daily life - laundry, dishes, packing lunches, shuttling children here and there, trying to get dinner somehow into everybody's mouth. It can be overwhelming. And on a bad day it can give you the blues.
We all know that our children are a Divine gift to us. They're light and life incarnate. They are tomorrow and every day after that. They are joyful, boundless energy. They represent so much hope. They're growing people, full of unique expressivity. We learn from them as they learn about the world. And our love for them is indescribable. It's a love so intense that it almost hurts.
But the daily life that comes with mothering is so much more than our children, right? It's a life of complication that didn't exist before. And we can almost remember what things used to be like . . . almost. So cognitive dissonance abounds. Why don't we talk about this more freely? Why does it still seem taboo when we admit that it's hard to be a mother and that every detail isn't enjoyable?
I'll never forget what it felt like to be in the hospital the night after my son was born. That was the moment everything turned upside-down. Not the moment he was born, but rather, this other moment . . . one that only I witnessed. My husband, who'd been awake for days, had fallen asleep on the couch in our room. It was the absolute middle of the night. My baby woke up in the bassinet next to my hospital bed. I was too weak and in too much pain to get up by myself. The bassinet was too far for me to reach. I called for my husband to wake up, but he was out like a light. I realized it then: I was the mama . . . and it would never ever go back to how it was before.
I used the nurse call button and got some help. But as I cradled my new son in my arms in the wee hours of the morning I felt a great, heavy loneliness.
That same loneliness visits me even now. It is dispelled only by shining a light of honesty on the issue - I've dealt with it enough to accept that this is the only way to resolve the tension.
Sometimes mothering is lonely. Sometimes we're upset that others are going on with life without us. We remember a time when packed our bags and hit the road for exciting adventures without much notice. We remember a time when we did things by ourselves on a regular basis. We don't want to go back . . . but we do sometimes long for the feeling we imagine we had back then - that illusive, old freedom.
So, Mama, how honest are you willing to be with yourself? How many mom friends do you have who are safe to talk with about these things? It only takes one or two good friends who understand to make the burden much lighter.