THE WOMAN WITHIN THE MOTHER IN US ALL
Motherhood stretches us in multiple directions at the same time: it pushes yet pulls, demands yet gives so much, exhausts yet fills, so much to impart yet so much more to learn. It really is an indescribable cocktail of emotions to the uninitiated.
My favourite part so far has been the constant demand to live up to being the best version of myself. Every intention, thought, word and action are so much more conscious. Constantly aware that there are ears, eyes, a heart, a mind, a conscience, an inner voice constantly watching, learning, interpreting & growing.
I think after the birth of my little girl my biggest struggle and yet, greatest learning has been to fearlessly live the life I dream of – everyday. Through my decisions and actions I’m trying to show her how important it is to feel that her life’s reigns and choices are in her hands. I hope to give her the courage to direct them in the direction that is most meaningful to her at each stage in her life.
“by filling my own cup with all the joy that my work, my friendships and time for myself has brought me, I have so much more to pour into hers – and everyone else around me.”
When I chose to start working once she turned a year old, I came up against all kinds of opposition and unsolicited advice – about how if I didn’t need to work at this stage, I shouldn’t; that my absence as a full time stay-at-home mum would negatively affect her and how all the time I spent away from her would in some way ruin the relationship we could have. Thankfully, I hung in there and listened to all the other voices that reassuringly pushed me forward.
Now when I pause to look back, I can’t be more grateful – sometimes it’s my work, sometimes it’s time for old friends or family members I treasure, it’s the time I take off to play football or attend Pilates class, the play/ concert/ movie I squeeze in every so often.
I believe I have given my child a calm-confident sense of independence and courage, the most wonderful relationships with her grandparents, and in all the precious time we do spend together, I am most definitely the best version of a mother I could have ever imagined I’d be.
But the greatest learning of all, that I believe she might only fully appreciate many years from now, is that by filling my own cup with all the joy that my work, my friendships and time for myself has brought me, I have so much more to pour into hers – and everyone else around me. As a mother to 3 girls, one of the greatest lessons I feel my mum taught each of us in her own special way was to always reach inward, to constantly engage with the things that bring us joy, and to never quite lose touch with the woman/ human being inside – no matter how good or bad things happening on the outside might be. Something she practiced so beautifully, so seamlessly and through her example – in some strange way allowed us to believe we needed too.
Motherhood has taught me and at moments of doubt, even forced upon me to honour and acknowledge the woman within the mother that I am, and continue to become. I do it because it makes me a better mother to my little person. I do it to remind her to do the same with her own life if she ever chooses to be a mother someday. And most of all, because it makes me a better friend, to myself.
So beautifully captured in the poem, “Woman in the glass”:
“When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you queen for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that woman has to say.
She’s the person to please, never mind all the rest,
For she’s with you clear up to the end.
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the woman in the glass is your friend.”
This Woman’s day, Mamma-Miya honours the woman within the mother in us all.
“to honour and acknowledge the woman within the mother that I am, and continue to become.”