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Bonds of Motherhood
Connected to One Another By a Cord Running Through Our Hearts
“There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.” -Unknown
If you are a mom, you have probably read and heard the advice on the value of keeping a variety of friends after you have children. There is value to be gained from your friends who have children older than yours, those who started into this motherhood journey earlier than you. There are altogether different connections with those who have children near the same age as yours, the ones you met in birthing class or in your mommy group. And then there are the friends who haven’t had children yet, for one reason or another. These individuals add another dimension to your life.
I particularly want to address the bonds that exist between mothers of all ages and experience levels. If you’re a mother, you know what I’m referring to. As soon as you have that baby bump, you sense it from other moms. You pass a mother with young children at the mall, and she smiles knowingly at you. Your casual acquaintance who has children suddenly start showing a greater interest in you and carrying on long conversations, which you inexplicably find fascinating overnight. Even the pregnant woman you lock eyes with in the grocery store shares an understanding gaze with you before glancing away.
It’s the connection that binds us together: this amazing, heart-wrenching, life-changing journey called motherhood. There is nothing else like it on earth, not even fatherhood, and so we are bound together with deep and powerful cords.
It still amazes me that I can meet any mom anywhere and hold a lengthy- often even meaningful- conversation with her. This astounds my husband. When I announced my idea to begin a bi-weekly group for mothers of infants and toddlers, he asked what we were going to “do”. I had to explain to him that any time you put two or more mothers in a room together, dialogue will ensue.
If there is an issue with your child you are struggling with, just ask another mother. Why does my baby cry so much? How do I get my two year old to stop throwing tantrums? What kind of school should I pick for my children? How do you communicate with pre-teen girls? All these questions and more can be answered by mothers. Granted, you’ll receive as many answers as mothers you ask, but you have the bonus of knowing that someone else has been where you are. Another soul truly understands what you’re going through. This recognition sparks gratitude and relief, and surprises you with the connection you feel to the other woman.
Being a mother is an amazing task that no one feels completely prepared for. When I imagined myself as a mother, I always pictured a more mature, older, wiser version of me. I am often surprised by how small and insignificant I feel as a mother. I often feel like I’m still a child myself, and I’m surprised to have so much responsibility in my hands. A home, a husband, two young children whose very existence depends on me! It’s overwhelming. A lesser species than mothers would run and hide screaming from the very proposition of the weight we carry. But not mothers. We recognize it, accept it, and walk quietly with the burden of the world on our shoulders.
Mothers are a gift to humanity. A Jewish proverb states, “God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.” And while I don’t believe this is entirely true, I do wholeheartedly agree that God works through mothers every moment of every day. From the tears we wipe away, the fevered brows we stroke, the words of encouragement we whisper, the hands that we hold, to the tiny bodies we press against ours with little hearts beating inside; God is present in the love mothers give.
No, we’re not perfect. Yes, we make mistakes. And we don’t always agree. Motherhood is not easy, but it’s unendingly rewarding. And no matter what our imperfections or differences, we can agree that there is much more that binds us together than that which drives a wedge between us. If you are a mother, bravo to you! I applaud you for your love, your sacrifice, and your hard work day in and day out, year after year. You are amazing and significant. …Pass it on.