Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Take on the Yin and the Yang of Motherhood

On Mother's Day, it is only fitting that I should write a brief blog entry to honor mothers.  What comes to mind when I think of mothers?  I call it the yin and the yang of motherhood and the reason for them both.

First, the effort of bringing life into the world.  Mothers are the ones whose job it is to carry the life from the time of conception to the time of birth.  Mothers are the ones who have the biggest job on the day of the child's birth.  Not that there is not a lot of room for important help along the way.  Help with the preparation and help with the birth.  Of course there is.  But the mothers are the ones with the biggest role.  The starring role, if you will.  And the most challenging role.

Second, unconditional love.  Not necessarily unconditional support.  Not necessarily unconditionally thinking that their children are always right.  But unconditional love.  The kind of love that says, "I'll always be there for you.  Even if you mess up.  I might yell.  I might rant and rave.  I might be worried, anxious, mad, and even seething--but ultimately I am still your mother and, when I calm down and get my composure, I'll still love you.  And the only reason that I get so worried, anxious, made and even seething, is that I care so much about what happens to you."  The kind of love that always seeks the best, but accepts whatever comes with the child and makes the best of it.  The kind of love that takes a very careful balance to encourage everything good while still letting the child be himself or herself.

Third, ferocity.  Why ferocity, you may ask?  It is the ferocity of protecting their children when their children are threatened.  Unconditional love is what I think of when the kid is the one messing up.  Ferocity is what I think of when the kid is being messed with.  And while unconditional love sometimes occurs despite a lot of screaming and yelling, ferocity can occur without screaming and yelling.  Sometimes mothers make their points best by just staring someone down or otherwise using non-verbal communication.

So, it is the combination of unconditional love and ferocity the things that can be most important when the kid messes up or is messed with that I see as the yin and the yang of motherhood.  And both come because the mother has so much of herself, so much of her time so much of the core of her very being invested in her children.

My wife certainly exhibits all three of these.  Sometimes the kids don't see it.  Sometimes I don't see it--in the heat of an argument about what may be best for our children.  But, at the end of the day it is what motherhood is all about.   

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