I hear the question repeated time and time again from women who may or may not have children, but all are wondering the same thing ‘can I be a mother in a way that feels good’, which always follows with ‘is it possible to to be attentive, warm, and nurturing to your babe(s) all while staying true to your femininity, grace, purpose, while also living a life?’
My simple answer, yes.
I am fully aware I am writing this with a fresh babe on my hip, and not with two or more children playing around my feet or years of mothering behind me, but I feel like I have found how to mother in a way that truly feels good to me. By following this process I’ve entered into motherhood with a foundation on which I will continue my practice in a truly feminine and elegant way.
And that is exactly what mothering is, a practice.
PRACTICE: perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.
Being a mother isn’t supposed to be a way of living by a strict rule book of do’s and don’ts. It is supposed to be a growing role, day in and day out, where you are constantly navigating what feels good to you and your child(ren) while also living life in a way that reflects your values. Mothering, parenting for that matter, shouldn’t be a role full of fear of what other’s will think or where we pass judgement upon one another, it should be a full acceptance on how you have chosen to live your life, how you’ve chosen to mother.
Being a Mother, what that looks like and how it feels, is different for every single woman. Just like your child’s fingerprint, it is truly unique. I love how each of us as women have the ability to grow and can continue to practice how to live life with a growing babe, in a way that feels good to us.
I have been asked frequently about how I mother, how I’ve come into my mothering role with such elegance and ease. And in all honesty, I didn’t feel like I was adequate enough to give any sort of response. Who am I to give advice on how to mother in a way that feels good? But then I realized, if people were asking, it’s because apparently I do know.
I’m not saying I have it right and I’m also not saying this is the only answer. Because it’s not, but this is how I’ve chosen to mother, and it truly feels good to me, day in and day out.
Put yourself first
Before I was pregnant my vision of motherhood looked like a constant cranky baby, long sleepless nights, our marriage fallen to pieces, and me day after day in yoga pants and 3 day old chips in my hair. This is what I fully expected to happen to me. So just hours after Isla was born I was showered, hair done, a soft layer of makeup applied, and a maxi dress on so that I felt comfortable yet still feminine. Setting that intention, or being completely afraid of my vision, and a quick recovery from labour set the foundation of making sure that every day I am showered and dressed in an outfit that is flattering and that I feel elegant and feminine in since the day she was born.
My morning routine takes about 30 minutes, and every day I make sure it happens. Usually this is when Isla takes her morning nap, sometimes it’s when Mister and her spend a few moments together playing before he heads to work. No matter what, I make it a priority that for 30 minutes a day I spend some time on me as it allows me to fully concentrate on the flow of the day instead of worrying that I’m losing myself.
This isn’t selfish, it’s priorities. Just like in an airplane they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping your child, the same applies here. You cannot mother to your full capacity if you are feeling like you are losing yourself in the process. Perhaps that isn’t what you would do to put yourself as a priority, it might be taking a bath, doing your nails, getting a workout in, talking on the phone with a friend, but find out what it is then do it every day so you know you are putting yourself first.
Set your intentions
Much of how I’ve decided to mother in a way that feels good to me, falls into this category. I set my intentions early on how I wanted mothering to look like for me.
My first intention is everything to be simple.
Our daily life is simple. Within a month of Isa’s birth I knew we needed to have a schedule because when I tried to do ‘on demand/with the flow’ I found myself frustrated and confused as to when she should be napping, when to make appointments, or when I would find time to have lunch to nurture myself. I quickly put us on a schedule , one that I now call a rhythm for our family. A rhythm, because some days the pace is fast like the momentum of a quick step or slow like the sway of a waltz. Because of my desire for simplicity, I only schedule one appointment/meet-up a day and always have one or two days a week where we don’t see anyone. I’ve chosen not to attend any mommy-and-me groups so that I can keep close contact with the relationships I forged before having a child – this has been extremely important to my wellbeing it has kept me grounded and feeling like I’m still in-tune with my pre-baby life. I’ve also allowed myself to say no when the day is too out of sync and I know I wouldn’t be able to give my full attention to the friend I am meeting with. Some days do go completely sideways, and I stay open and flexible so that each day has an overall sense of ease to it instead of stress. Because I’ve integrated a simple schedule into our lives it makes it easy to work around to meet with friends, plan date nights, or spend the whole day with her in a relaxed state.
My second intention is keeping a home that reflects us.
We have as little toys as possible and before it’s purchased we decide if it will fit into our home and lifestyle. Bold bright colours cause me a lot of anxiety so anything of that nature isn’t brought into our home – toys or clothing. We are made fun of because the three of us are constantly matching in our attire. We don’t do this on purpose, but everything we live with and in has been carefully considered making sure it suits us personally. We just seem to be attracted to neutral tones with classic elegant colours like black and white, navy and gray, soft pinks and nudes and that is showcased time and time again through the design of our home, our clothing, and the toys we select for Isla to develop with.
I’ve been told that Isla NEEDS to have colourful outfits or toys, things that light up and make noise. And when that is said to me I have moments of panic that perhaps I’m depriving her of developing properly, but then I realize she is perfectly happy with me and the calm peaceful surrounding we have created for her. Why would I surround myself with items that cause me to stress which then in turn would stress her out as well.
My third intention is to accept parenting advice with love.
This is much harder as it’s given to me in the most unlikeliest of places, like scrolling through facebook for example. You see people sharing posts about how not being on your phone is the best way to parent, how crying it out will cause serious damage and break the bonds of trust, how baby lead weaning is the best way to introduce solids, co-sleeping is best, no babe sleeping in her crib alone is best. Well intentioned friends and family give you guidance from their experience. Everything is well intended, but extremely overwhelming especially when navigating motherhood at the very beginning of your journey. Knowing this, I didn’t want to get my back up and feel like I was being judged or told I need to change. I decided to accept every single piece of parenting advice as a welcoming hand for guidance, a source of experience, a circle of support to create my mothering role within.
When I’m given parenting advice, whether it’s from family, friends or a parenting book, I acknowledge it and then before putting that expectation or obligation upon myself to fulfill, I make sure it aligns with the above intentions and either implement and see how it works or decide it’s not for me with no hard feelings. It has been the most freeing experience, to fully accept unsolicited parenting advice, then continuing to mother in a way that feels good!
This is the most important component on how to mother in a way that feels good to you. You must communicate your priorities and your intentions to yourself and to those who are supporting you through your practice of motherhood. This role isn’t easy and it will quickly drain you of all energy and confidence if you don’t communicate your needs and expectations to others.
We told our family and friends that we didn’t want any toys or a baby shower prior and after Isla’s birth, and I know I crushed my mom’s dream of hosting one for me, but we really didn’t want to build a registry or receive gifts from people that may not fit with us, our home, or our lifestyle. This has greatly reduced the amount of toys, clothing, and baby accessories that we own and it feels so good!
Mister and I are constantly communicating with each other about our needs as a man and a woman, husband and wife, mother and father. We talk about our goals that we want to achieve individually and as a family. We set out plans and put important events in our schedule that we know we want to experience whether it’s a girls weekend for me, or golf day for him, or every saturday morning he hikes up the side of a mountain so he can have some time alone.
You have to be willing and able to communicate your needs, especially when it comes to how you’re feeling about mothering and being a mother. It hasn’t been easy for me, to transition from not wanting children to now having one, but when I’m open and honest with myself and with Mister on how I’m dealing with life it makes it easier to say ‘I need a day off at least once a month for me to be the wife and mother I want to be’ and then suddenly being gifted with two days off with no expectations to fulfill the role of wife and mother except to recharge and do what feels good.
There is so much more that I could go into, but this is just a start of how I mother in a way that feels good to me. I’ve chosen to embodied my mothering rolevwith femininity, elegance, ease, and lots of fun as well.
I would love to hear, whether you have children or not, how you mother or how you intend to mother in a way that feels good to you.
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