A good mother...this phrase in various forms plays through my head and heart all day long some days. I am a good mother, I just want to be a good mother, I am not my mother, I am a good mother. In order to heal some of the wounds I have around my mother and this role, I have had to do a lot of inner work. Recently, I came across this C.S. Lewis quote and it helped to clarify some things.
In the past, I have minimized my role (and my mother's) as a mother and homemaker. I have had a strong dislike for that word, "homemaker," because it didn't seem to have a lot of value in my house. My mom stayed home and had her own business and worked really hard, but steady joy and success seemed to elude her constantly and, as a result, there was a lot of conflict and instability in our home growing up. I realize now, that I developed a solution in my soul. In order to be successful and happy, I had to move as far away from that role as possible.
For years, I insisted I would never have children or leave the professional world. I loved working and gaining professional recognition, traveling and having limited attachments. Then, I began to realize it wasn't enough. My soul was calling me back to that place of home and hearth, because that is who I am. I wanted to have kids and nurture and teach them, and make sure they grew up knowing they were loved and appreciated for who they are. So, I had kids--three of them--and I love them so much. They are the greatest gift to me, and the best teachers for lessons I still need to learn.
One of the biggest lessons I am still diving into and earning my colors is to retrain my brain and cellular memory that staying at home and having my own business doesn't have to be hard or emotionally draining. I want to create my own image of what "homemaker" means to me, and I KNOW I want this new image to be filled with joy, gratitude and deep fulfillment.
I have begun to release the image that homemakers are women like Aunt Bee, June Cleaver and my Nana who used aprons, cooked pot roasts, & wore pearls and high heels on Sundays. Instead, I have developed this new understanding: Homemakers are all responsible adults who create a home or a place of love, stability and security in which children can grow up and into their best selves.
Using this new definition, I have begun my journey to reclaim my own image of me as a good mother. However, the deeper lesson and understanding for me, is that we must all develop an appreciation for the role of "homemaker," and the need for all adults to honor this responsibility of creating stability and security for children in the world.
It truly does take "a community to raise kids."
To be a "homemaker," we each (in our own unique ways) must inspire, challenge, provide for, accept, champion, discipline, redirect, and love, love, love children--and not just our own, but ALL children.
No matter if you are a mother or father, if you stay at home with children full-time or work part-time at three jobs and then see them at night or in the morning or act as a mentor to someone in your free time, what matters is what you do with children, how you treat them, and what you teach them to believe WHEN YOU ARE WITH THEM.
This is the ultimate career and it is everyone's responsibility--growing and nurturing your kids or other children in the community so that they grow up and can AND WANT to do the same for future generations. We all must nurture and embrace the "homemaker" in ourselves in order to create a "home" for humans on this planet.
Without this commitment and dedication to educating young people to appreciate and honor their lives and the lives of others, helping them to claim and use their talents and strengths for the highest good, and encouraging them to play, explore and have fun all while following rules, our society may be ill-fated to experience more and more violence, ignorance, racism, entitlement and poverty.
Together, though, we adults and young people can make an immense difference. We CAN change the course of our future lives and world. If you have kids, start at home: 1) Limit time on electronics (phones, Kindles, computers, etc...), 2) Set aside every day for time together--to eat a meal, to read a book, to talk and connect, 3) Do something special together once a week--volunteer, play in a park, attend a concert or play, build a fort, visit a family member, have friends over for a play date or dinner, etc...4) Make a tradition to do something for someone else in need during the holidays, quarterly or monthly (work at the food pantry, visit the elderly at a nursing home, weed in a community garden, collect donations for the Humane Society), 5) Write letters to family and friends--express your love and appreciation, send support, give thanks, check in and stay connected, 6) Be real and available--play, be silly, say you are sorry, cry and express emotions in a positive manner, hug, kiss, hold one another, take a nap, say "I love you," give feedback when something good happens.
If you don't have kids, you can still make an impact and be a "homemaker" for someone: 1) Become a big brother or sister (http://www.bbbswashco.org/individual_opp.html) 2) Coach a kid's team at the Y or a school or the Boys and Girls' Club, 3) Become an educational tutor or mentor 4) Start a reading club in your neighborhood, 5) Help a family in need or call a friend and volunteer to babysit so the parents can get some respite 6) Stay connected with your own family by calling, writing, forgiving and moving on.
There are SO many things we ALL can do everyday to be a "homemaker." Chances are, you probably have some healing of your own to do before you can fully embrace this word and its deeper meaning. I know I still have a LOT of work to do around crafting this role so I can more completely appreciate it. Ultimately, I think being a homemaker (or in my mind, a good mother) is really just living in right relationship with everything and everyone--giving and taking, loving and receiving, creating and releasing.
I hope you are the beneficiary of a homemaker or good mother, and if not, that maybe you can begin with yourself. Take care of you--reteach yourself the importance of your life. Look for a mentor, surround yourself with good friends, and practice healing, forgiving and deep self-care.