Moms and Monks

I stumbled upon the Momastery blog a few months ago and was immediately grateful for Glennon’s honest writings.  Her posts have encouraged me on multiple occasions.  However, it wasn’t until I read her explanation behind the term Momastery, found here, that my heart was sold- sold on the importance of women sharing our experiences and inspired to strive to regularly share my own.

Glennon writes that motherhood is like a monastery, that while we live in community with other mothers, repeating the same tasks day in and day out, we often feel alone, solitary in the midsts of poopy diapers and temper tantrums.  And while our kids are different, our schedules are different, our philosophies of parenting are different, our fears and joys are universal.  “Momastery is a place to get lost and found. It’s a place to love and be loved. It’s a touch stone. It’s a place to listen and be listened to. It’s a place to make mistakes and say I’m sorry. It’s a place to practice forgiveness.”

I’ll admit, since reading the idea of how being a mom is similar to being a monk, I’ve found a deeper level of meaning to my days.  I’m striving to look at the repetitive tasks as spiritual discipline, as a way to practice love regardless of how I feel at the moment.  I’m striving to look at the mundane afternoon of playing legos and monster trucks as God with us, innocence shared and the simple enjoyed.  While my days are far from glamorous, they are beautiful and completely mine, given to me and for me.

And so at 5pm tonight as I look in the fridge for what to make for dinner, as my kids pull at my legs and whine that they are hungry, I’ll think about all the other moms who are doing the same thing.  And I will think, “I am not alone.  We are in this together.”

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Why I don’t hate Mother’s Day

I read Anne Lamott’s thoughts on Mother’s Day entitled, “Why I hate Mother’s Day” (http://www.salon.com/2010/05/08/hate_mothers_day_anne_lamott/).  And I both agree and disagree.  I agree that the way our society celebrates it is…missing the point a bit.  I agree that chocolate and flowers are nice, but if you really want to appreciate me then clean my house!  And definitely don’t wait for this 1 day a year to show the love, give me hugs and kisses throughout the year.  Thanks.

I agree that the act of mothering should be celebrated in addition to mothers themselves.  That those in our lives who have nurtured, loved, and cared for us should be celebrated on this day, regardless of if they are male or female, mother or not.

But i don’t agree that those who aren’t mothers know what it’s like to be a mother, for i surely didn’t.  Upon becoming a mother, I have apologized to friends of mine who were mothers before I was.  I apologized for not realizing what they were going through- for not understanding what a truly sleepless night was and then having 5 of them in a row!  I didn’t realize how unselfish I would be called to, even though many times I have clentched teeth while doing it…but still I do it…and damn it, that should be celebrated.  Because even though I love my kids more than anything, there are days that I want to run away.  There are days that I want to curl up in a hole somewhere and hide and sleep!  There are days that I want to say “F off everyone, I want to do what I want to do!!!”

But I don’t.  Many of us don’t…and for that we should be celebrated.  Not because we are superior beings but because we are doing a really hard thing, unnoticed, and we need encouragement.  We need one day where the world recognizes what is asked of mothers, the sacrifice and exhaustion and worry that comes along with the responsibility of raising another human being.  Sure there are those who we might call “unqualified” that raise kids, who don’t deserve our congratulations.  But regardless of our qualifications, it is by God’s grace that any of us have survived and thrived.

And even if our Mother’s Day sucks, even if we spend the day ignored and wiping poopy butts,  atleast we can say we live in a world that wants to celebrate mothers.  A day that reminds us to celebrate those motherly folk in our lives and a day that hopefully reminds someone else to celebrate us.

I don’t want to hate Mother’s Day.  I want to love it, I want all mothers to rise up and stay- to not run away from our responsibilities, to not abadon those that depend so deeply on us, to resist that urge inside us that says “forget it, I can’t do it, I don’t want to do it anymore.  I want out.”  Cause I know there are millions of us every day who do choose to stay- who choose to let love reign in our hearts and lives one more day.

And for those whose mothers chose to leave, I say God will never leave you.  I say remember to trust the One who was the very first Mother, our Father in Heaven.  I desperately say please believe Him when He calls you His beloved child.  Please believe that.  And choose differently than your mother did.

Because regardless of how great or awful our mother was, we all depend on God for our every breath.  Regardless of how present or distant our mothers were physically, emotionally or spiritually, it is God who sustains us.  It is God who sustains our children.  We are stewards, a responsibility we should take seriously and yet one we hold with an open hand.

And so for all you mothers out there, for all you who want so badly to be a mother, for all you who being a mother is the furthest thing from your mind, for all you who choose to love and care for someone in your life, I say happy mother’s day to you.  keep on mothering.