While there may be some perfect children, there are no perfect mothers. Wait. That didn’t sound right.
Let me try this again.
While there may some perfect mothers, there are no perfect children. Hmm. That doesn’t sound right either.
One last time.
Just like there are no perfect children, there are no perfect mothers. Yes. I think that’s how the adage goes.
If we can accept this premise of two-way imperfection, then we open the door to a lot of possibilities for Mother’s day. We open the door to accepting that both mothers and children are often doing the best they can as they muddle their way through their lives. The occasionally collaborative muddling is clouded with doubt and constant questioning, perhaps more on the part of mothers than their children.
For the most part, mothers are tough on themselves. To a large extent, I saw this with my own mothers.Yes. That’s a plural. Both my birth-mother and her sister who raised me for fourteen years, were tough on themselves. My aunt was tough on the kids too, but in a this-is-for-your-own-good kind of way. I also see this tough-on-self, but in her case, soft-on-the-kid approach in my wife, as she works on her role as a mother. Our daughter gets a (really) wide berth from her, and yet, my daughter also knows when she’e reaching the end of rope. It’s a very interesting dynamic for me to watch.
The burden of perfection wears heavy on women as they learn their way into their roles as mothers. Society expectations of women in this role is extremely high. Women are expected to be primary caregivers, providers, nourishers, teachers and much more. It is a miracle that they can stay in sound mental health under all this pressure. During Mother’s day week, I often think about the pressures that my Mom must have felt, having her first child, my brother. at the age of nineteen, ten months after she got married. Barely out of childhood, and here she was, taking care of a child of her own.
I wonder what her life would have been like if she hadn’t been handed the early-in-life of Mother. She was twenty one when I was born. What kind of dreams of her own did she have, that got put on the shelf — some of them to stay there permanently. She was very happily married to Dad, and they had lots of travels and adventures together, with us. There were a lot of moments of joy and family times full of tea, music, food and playing cards. And yet, I could feel that there was a sense of searching (for something) within her.
In her case, the search led her to her meditation practice late in life. She was always a devoted to her faith and religious person. However, her meditation practice gave her persona a lightness of heart and joy which had been missing in her life. It was as if she had received a re-birth of her faith through personal experience of divine energy in her life. There was nary a weekly phone conversation where she wouldn’t bring up her practice and her experiences with it. To say that this new child-like joy of hers had an influence on me, is an understatement. And so, a new journey began for me, as I decided to follow her method, a mere few months before she merged with light.
This is the story of two people, mother and child, who began their journey together by muddling through the early years, and then spent most of their physical lives at long distances from each other after the child turned seven. And yet, the connection on the emotional level was rarely frayed — even during, and particularly so when we strongly disagreed with each other. Her final bequest to me was the sharing of her late in life spiritual practice, for which I am eternal grateful, for it shall keep me connected to her in stillness, silence and light.
That’s part of the story of me, one of my mothers, and our imperfections. What’s your story? Are you among the few whose mother thought that you were the perfect child? Do you (or did you) believe that your Mom could do no wrong, and that she ‘walked on water’? What were some defining moments of your ‘travels’ with your Mother or the one(s) who raised you? Were there any influences, weak or strong, that your Mama had on you, or that you had on her?
I have learnt over the years of hosting #SpiritChat that Mother’s Day is a day of widely varying emotions for many of us. It isn’t necessarily a day of celebration for some, particularly those who may have had negative experiences with their mothers. In addition, this day is very tough on those mothers who may be grieving the recent loss of a child, or children grieving their recently lost mother. And then there are those who want to be mothers, but for various reasons, can’t. The mothers of the disappeared. The mothers of those in refugee camps. The mothers of those in ICE detention centers. The mothers of those caught in human trafficking. The single mothers coping with the pandemic. The mothers trapped in heightened domestic abuse during the pandemic. The mothers across the world who struggle every day to provide drinking water, food, maybe even soap, for their children. And many more.
And yet, I have also learnt, that there are those who do embrace this day to honor, celebrate and express gratitude for their journey together – mothers and children alike. What message can we send to all of them on Mother’s Day? Maybe we can make a small donation to women’s shelters and organizations like MitzvahCircle or UNICEF or UNHCR. We can send them a message of Hope with our giving, because it would mean the world to them.
In a spiritual sense, no matter where we may fall on the spectrum of joy or grief on this day, one thing is for certain. We can warm our heart in the knowing that the energy of the Divine Mother is constantly watching over us with deep love, suffusing her healing light into our heart, and is ever-present with her grace in our life. When we experience that divine energy, we can all find cause for remembrance and celebrate Her on this Mothers’ Day.
P.S. Join us as we gather for our weekly conversation on twitter with the #SpiritChat community. Sunday, May 10 at 9amET / 630pm India. We will talk a little about “A Mother’s Energy”, and share some stories about how we muddled through childhood together. Namaste – AjmaniK
A blue (or is it purple or magenta?) iris blooms – my Mother’s favorite colors…