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  1. #1
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    the wide spectrum of mothering

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    This Amy Young poem/prayer was read at a Unitarian Universalist service I attended a couple of years ago. For me it captures who mothers can be. On Mother’s Day our stage should be big enough to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

    “To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

    To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

    To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

    To those who are struggling with motherhood - we are here for you

    To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

    To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you.
    Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

    To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

    To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

    To those who have disappointment, heartache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

    To those who have lost their mothers – we grieve with you

    To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

    To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

    To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

    To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths

    To those who lavish love on grandchildren – we celebrate you. To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you

    To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

    To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart

    And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

    This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.”
    ……Amy Young
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 05-07-2016 at 07:04 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    That is beautiful, Rebecca, thanks for sharing. My mom has been gone two years now and I find this time of year really painful, it's nice to see some acknowledgement of that loss.

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  4. #4
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    It's funny, I had a wonderful mom, but the only time I miss her is when I think of her in relationship to my sons and their achievements. She would have been an awesome great grandmother. She sincerely did not want people moping about her death and articulated this clearly, so I really took that to heart and only think about her in good ways. Of course, I wish she had not struggled with illness and died at such a young age (69), but I can hear her now, saying, "Go forward, get over it!!"
    I bought my DIL the book "Sh*tty Mom, the Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us." It is hysterical. I wish it had been around when I was a young mom. I read almost all of it and I would say I am in the honorable mention sh*tty mom club. I will preface the gift with the fact that I just don't want her worrying and listening to all of the BS she will hear when she has the baby. It's already started... she is taking everything so seriously and worrying. With no good maternal role model, I try to walk the fine line between giving advice and just being there. My son will be a natural parent, so I shouldn't worry a lot.
    My other DIL and son do not need the book. She'll have the baby and the next day, they will probably be out hiking with the kid.
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  5. #5
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    Pax…in my mind there IS a beauty in an inclusive and caring acknowledgement of all the aspects of Mother’s Day..
    ..(HUG)
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  6. #6
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    Rebecca, that poem was very beautiful. It was nice to see acknowledgement of some of the harsher sides of parenthood too. Parenthood is many things, but always carries emotion.
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  7. #7
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    Rebecca -- what a beautiful poem! I have friends who would love to be married and have kids, it didn't work out and I always imagine how hard this time of year must be for them. I struggled with infertility for years and remember HATING going to Mothers' Day at church. All of these things -- the poem just covers everything beautifully!

    Crankin -- what a lovely thought to buy the book for your daughter in law! I think possibly the hardest thing about mothering is the judgment you face (whether real or imagined) so it sounds like a great book and a great sentiment for you to buy it for her!

  8. #8
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    Ah, Mother's day is so alienating for me. Thanks for that. I am still seething with resentment because my mother expects to be congratulated for her toxic, non mothering.

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  9. #9
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    (((((Laura))))) Wish that poem would've done more than "acknowledge" our "experience." Some comfort would've been nice.

    But definitely, cheers to all mothers who at least tried to do it right.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
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    Well, it's a start. I can usually tune out the syrupy sweet messages that stir up so much dissonance, but this year I stumbled upon a reddit group (raised by Narcissists) with a supposed mother's day support group, and I fell right down a rabbit hole that wiped out a good 10 years of therapy in one go.

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  11. #11
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    Laura, my take on those groups (as a therapist), is you are going to hear a lot of very fragile people who could certainly undo all of the work you have done. I am a firm believer in divorcing yourself from abusive, narcissistic, or otherwise extremely dysfunctional parents as adult children of such people. But, I think I am in the minority. I just read a whole professional article about this. Many therapists and the public in general, preach forgiveness for such parents, but would we say this to a woman abused by a spouse? Of course not. The parental attachment bond is so strong, it makes it difficult, but often better in the end, to hold the boundaries and/or have no contact.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    Many therapists and the public in general, preach forgiveness for such parents, but would we say this to a woman abused by a spouse? Of course not.
    I've never understood why parents (even bad ones) get a pass. Then again, my favorite saying is that my kids are going to blame me when they grow up, I might as well earn it :-)

    Laura - I'm so sorry it was so rough this year.
    Crankin, the world needs more therapists like you. I fully support removing people from your life if they don't improve it. Life is too short to spend your time working on relationships that make you miserable. Then again, I'm working hard at "forgiving" (or how about not being angry about and letting go of) an abusive person in my past. They're not a part of my life anymore (beyond perhaps having to see them across a room at holidays once or twice a year), but at this point I just need to let them and the anger go and not define myself by past injuries.

  13. #13
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    You are not forgetting, though Aromig, and you are forgiving your anger at the person, and then keeping him or her out of your life. Obviously every situation is different. You are so right, life is too short. Personally, I never wanted my kids to blame me, so I tried to raise them like my parents raised me, which was pretty damn well! I "divorced" my aunt 8 years ago, and by doing that I also have no contact with my cousins, their spouses, and their kids. She is an angry, controlling witch, with untreated ADD and I suspect a mood disorder. Her husband died at the young age of 52, and she became even worse after that, and never resolved her grief. My mom was totally the opposite. So, she can control her own adult children, but not me. It is too bad, as this is my only family, except my brother, who lives across the country. But, every time I think about re-establishing contact, I remind myself of her ways.
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  14. #14
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    Oh, I was totally being tongue in cheek about my kids blaming me anyway so I might as well earn it :-) I'm working very hard on being what I think is a good parent, but also not letting my kids control my whole life and not doing everything for them. I think I will raise the most independent kids if they see a mom with her own life too. I think its all about balance. We are heavily into travel sports, and we see so many parents whose entire life is centered around the kids, their sports, and their school projects. I just don't think that can be healthy for kids to grow up thinking everything centers around them but it seems the norm now.

    My kids get so angry when I say 'no, you can't do this because we already have plans' and I hear "that so and so's Mom cancels her plans so they can......" My usual retort is that if this is the worst thing that ever happens to them they'll end up just fine.

    Great point Crankin about forgiving is not forgetting. I think society sometimes doesn't get that these aren't the same things.

  15. #15
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    I totally raised my kids that way. They knew that DH and I were the team and in the end, we were the bosses. My kids had a lot of freedom, compared to others, but we were strict about some things that others don't care about (write thank you notes, dressing the appropriate way for the setting, working an entry level job). I hated the whole team sports thing, and thankfully my kids stopped that after 6th grade. When the younger one got into bike racing in HS, I took little interest in it until I started riding, which kind of coincided with when he got his license and could drive to races. So, I did go to some races. The parents were not quite as horrible, mostly because the kids on his team came from all different towns. It's also how we got connected up with our former exchange student, who is really like a 3d son. I was the same way with my other son who did band for 8 years. I went to see the performances and picked him up at ungodly hours from competitions and football games, but I was never a "band mom."
    Basically DH and I had "plans" and still do, almost every Saturday night of our marriage. That's what my parents did, and so did DH's. We had wonderful teenaged babysitters (who are now in their mid forties ) and my own kids started babysitting themselves at age 11-12.
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