I grew up with an amazing mother. She was a full time mum, working sometimes part-time in a creche. She was loving, nurturing, kind and attentive, yet set strong and definite boundaries when necessary. Motherhood just came naturally to her- it FELT right and I (almost) always felt loved and seen.
Yep, the mother aspect of being a woman- she OWNED it! In fact, I'm certain that I witnessed first hand the green eyed envy of other mothers as my mother blissfully thrived during schools holidays, loading us up into the car with ease as we totted off to visit the zoo, the video store to hire out a pile of videos for a movie night or juggling dinner for 6 or more kids as we had sleepovers.
Mind you, we weren't without our own dysfunctions, but my mother sure did have a certain KNACK. Something I gratefully inherited. I love children- and I also have a certain knack for calming them, getting them to sleep even when their parents can't, allowing them to thrive and flourish and to feel seen and heard. This is a beautiful, sacred aspect of being a woman.
Without realizing it, my mother taught me that.
However, it is not the only sacred, beautiful or valid aspect of being a woman.
It occurred to me recently that whilst I inherited certain gifts and qualities from my own mother in owning some aspects of my womanhood, I had also inherited some learned patterns and behavior in DISOWNING others.
As I sifted through photos of mum as a 17,18 and 19 year old, I discovered a woman who was foreign to me. Posing confidently in front of the camera- short shorts and bikini tops. Beautiful topless pictures bathing in the sun, playful images of her doting on her beloved Shiloh (her pet horse) as she frolicked freely through the paddocks.
Although I had always thought of my mum as an attractive, sexy woman in her own right- as a child I had never seen her truly OWN it, EXPRESS it and SHARE it. In fact, as I recall she actually spoke ill of other women openly expressing their sexuality.
Perhaps this is how I had come to react a similar way to open expressions of sexuality, to disown my own and to become confused about my body, how I feel about it and how to express the unavoidable womanliness pulsing through my veins.
In our modern society, we are so busy, distracted, over stimulated and confused, that the true essence of what it is to be a woman has gotten severely distorted along the way.
We are bombarded with conflicting, insulting, demeaning, confusing and powerfully suggestive images and ideals of what our 'role' is in modern society. Like, in every single moment of our day.
Chase a high flying career and earn big money, find your perfect soul mate and become the perfect wife, live your life to the fullest, make sure your house is spotless- but do it yourself so you set a good example for your children, be the perfect mother who sets a good example. It often seems that success as a woman= being and having the model career, body, wife, mother, friend, daughter and not to mention, a sex goddess in your spare time.
What's missing from this picture?
It is time, as women, to put ourselves and our needs first.
As mothers, wives, business women, yoga teacher or whatever 'roles' we are enacting in this lifetime. This is difficult for many women to hear, as we are not used to thinking this way.
What would it mean for you to put yourself first? Taking a hot bath, buying those gorgeous red shoes (you deserve them!), getting a sitter Thursday mornings so you can go to yoga..
Whatever it means for you, do it.
Why? Your cup will be all filled up, and you will have some overflow to spare. When we truly love and care for ourselves, we are more able to truly love and care for others.
These are the things I have made number 1 priority in my life.
These are also the things my mother didn't value for herself.
At 27, I was over - worked, over - tired, depressed and run down running around caring for everyone except myself.
It took chronic fatigue, illness and depression for me to see that it was high time I priotised looking after and nourishing myself.
What will it take for you?