Monday, September 20, 2010

the art of motherhood

Sometimes I think the art of Motherhood tends to get lost in the shuffle in our culture.

As women reach with their might for their “dreams”…they gradually let fade one dream they were given right from the start.

A free gift.

The opportunity to become “Mother."

I'm not talking about becoming a mother through the act of giving birth to a child. That is another topic all together...one that some women, despite their very most valiant efforts do not get the opportunity to take part in.

I'm talking about once we have those children in our care, despite how we get them, the art of being "Mother." Motherhood as a career...one that is hallowed and beautiful and real and whole.

Running a company has become much more important in the world.

We want the rush of accomplishment.

Or making a name for ourselves.

A name to be hallowed to people we don’t even know.

While our children sit at home wishing for our arms to stretch around them.

I think it is human nature to seek for recognition. We want our efforts not to slip quietly away, unnoticed. And motherhood doesn’t naturally lend itself to Pulitzer prizes or red carpets.

No.

Initially motherhood tends to travel more down the dark-circles-under-your-eyes-for-want-of-sleep, and adornment with smears from sticky fingers sort of road. Then, in some cases, it leads to the disrespectful teenager stage, and then the glorious stage of being the dumb parent who messed up their kids while trying to raise them right.

Yes, it can be a thankless job.

But we Mothers tend to forget, amidst the chaos, that we have our own “Pulitzer Prizes” right in front of us. Little spirits in which we can sometimes catch a faint reflection of ourselves, for better or for worse.

And all that stuff that doesn't lend itself to the recognition our human nature leads us to crave? The endless laundry, the scrubbing, the same books read over and over and over again...the teaching kids tough lessons and the heart break that comes with letting them make their own decisions?

Well, those things are the scaffolding of the beautiful cathedrals we are building.

If we can only remember that each mundane thing we do as mothers contributes, if even in a seemingly minuscule part, to something so beautiful and holy: helping one of God's own children blossom and bloom into what they are to one day become.

And in the process we, ourselves, blossom and bloom...each day becoming a little closer to what God wants us to be.

35 comments:

  1. I get it, I do. But motherhood isn't a given for many.

    I adopted to become a mom. I was unable to give birth. That meant another woman lost her ability to be the mom she wanted to be because she was unable to parent the child she gave birth to, in this case cause of some arbitrary rule in China.

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  2. AWESOME post , Shawni.
    And SO, SO true.
    Just what I needed on a Monday morning with a week chock full of mothering ahead of me!

    Love you!

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  3. Sometimes I think the desire for moms to do too much and be too much can lead to slacking on the most important job there is.

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  4. Sometimes I think the desire for moms to do too much and be too much can lead to slacking on the most important job there is.

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  5. Great post! I posted about motherhood today too!
    http://rhondasteed.blogspot.com/

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  6. Thank you so much for posting this. It is absolutely what I needed to hear right now (I stalk your blog through my sister!)as I've been really struggling with my role as a mom. I've felt like I've lost my identity, I'm no longer the fun, spunky, intelligent person that I was several years ago. Now I'm "Mom", the one who cleans the same mess thirty times a day, who changes diapers, stops fights, STARTS fights (oops). But becoming a mom has been a desire for me, a choice that I freely (and excitedly) made four years ago and I am so happy that I read your blog today because it reminded me of that choice and reminds me that my job is the most important and fulfilling job out there. Thank you for the boost! I love your blog and I aspire to be a mother and person like you.

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  7. Thank you for posting this today. Just last night I had a moment of no recognition and felt a little sorry for myself. It's nice to be reminded that my little angel is thanks enough!

    Happy Monday! :)

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  8. Beautiful post! SO inspiring and humbling as well. I am going to do better today and remember that it is the little things that count...

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  9. A little off-topic, but I think that the reason there are so many 'mommy blogs' out there is because it's a way for mothers to get a little feedback and recognition for everything we do. Those little comments mean a lot!

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  10. Thanks so much for that beautiful reminder of why we do the things we do!

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  11. What a great post to read at the start of a new week! THanks

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  12. I love the way you made the act of being a mother global--the divine role of nurturer isn't there for only those who physically bear children to seek, which you pointed out so eloquently. My oldest sister has never had the opportunity to marry and have a family, yet she is a powerful force in the lives of her nieces and nephews. She provides a form of love and support for each of them that is very unique and very different from what their own mothers give them. I'm so grateful to have the benefit of her nurturing skills, too, in our family.

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  13. What beautiful thoughts on Motherhood and having a mother heart! I am happy to have found your sweet blog! I love it--thanks so much! Have a happy week!

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  14. Great post. Just great!

    Oh, and I know you have always been 71 Toes...but I noticed you changed from Life to 71 Toes as your title.

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  15. Thank you so much for that. It was something I really needed to be reminded of and you put it so perfectly.

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  16. beautiful and inspiring and challenging....I love the pulitzer analogy! Thank you for sharing!
    Sharron

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  17. have i commented before on your blog? i can't remember but i am so enjoying your blog. so beautiful and i loved this post. thanks for sharing. and thanks for letting strangers pop in.

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  18. oh so true! I really have dedicated my life to having my children and being their mummy. I was a bit put off and surprised when after having my first everyone was asking 'when' I was going back to work not 'if'. I'm a stay at home mummy for life and made that decision with my hubby before we got married. I don't see it getting any easier when they go to school but I do feel blessed that I bring in money through other means and have a great life at home.

    It's not always rosy and you show us that on your blog.

    Well done for saying it out loud. There is so much focus on working mothers here in australia and getting back into the workforce and financial support to put your kids into care. But I'm so glad that my city life is behind me and my husband appreciates that I'm at home bringing up our kids. And I can see the benefits in my children and that is worth much more than a 6 figure salary and fancy job title.

    Corrie:)

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  19. Thank you for such a great post! You really have a way of putting things in perspective. I often turn to your blog for inspiration and admire your values tremendously.

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  21. I've thought this same thing so many times, but I'm not nearly as good as putting it into words. Thanks!

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  22. Great post, I've printed it to post on my bulletin board.

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  23. beautiful....

    I tried to take my 2 year old with me while I walked the dog tonight - disaster. She fell, scraped her knee, needed to be carried, she was bleeding, dog needed to go because he was long overdo for said walk, he got free from his collar, he charged two other dogs, I got frustrated, I carried her home, scooped the poop, wiped snotty nose on my shirt, and reentered the house annoyed.

    Who got the brunt of it? The husband. And he didn't do anything wrong. No one did. This is my job. It's tough. I need to buck up.

    Thanks for this post. Just what I needed.

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  24. 99% of the reason I read your blog is to motivate myself to want to become a mother some day through seeing the up side of becoming a mother (as opposed to all the thankless work which is what I usually associate with motherhood). Today's post really resonated with me. Thank you! FYI - I found your blog through a roommate from your area, and the other 1% of the reason I read your blog is your BEAUTIFUL photos.

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  25. This is so incredibly profound. I read it fast then looked to find who this quote/excerpt was written by. Then I read it again and again (and it's you). I love it. You put my feelings into beautiful words. You don't know me, but I feel like I know you! You are amazing and inspiring. Thanks for sharing on this little blog!

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  26. This is what I gave a talk about last week to the YW at their activity. The topic was what I majored in and why... and I mainly talked to them about my role as a mother. I feel that so many women begin something new in life for their children, but then end up getting so involved that their purpose ends up being forgotten and it's their children that end up suffering at home without a mother around.
    I love reading your and your sisters blogs, I've read your mom's book "A Joyful Mother" years ago and found you after posting her book as one of my favorites on my Mother's in Making blog, http://mothersinmaking.blogspot.comA friend sent me your link. Thank you for inspiring us mothers!

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  27. Wow-your post makes me sad. It seems like you are making the assumption that all moms that work are doing so for recognition. Unfortunately, I work so we can afford to live.

    xwvsNow I know many will say that if I "really" wanted to stay at home, my husband & I would do whatever was necessary to make it happen. But in our opinion, living in a one bedroom apartment (maybe wouldn't even be able to afford that) or with our parents wasn't what we wanted for our children.

    So now, as I leave for work, I will picture my children reaching out for my arms to hold them. You know, there isn't just one way to practice the art of motherhood.

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  28. Shawni, this is SO beautiful. I was thinking the very same thing this weekend...that often us mothers are the behind-the-scenes people...the ones that put it all together and pull it all off, with little recognition. I was thinking of my mother in law, and my mother...how hard they still work, how much they still sacrifice to do things that don't always sound that fun...giving holiday parties, fixing huge dinners, just being an always-available sounding board. All the stuff that makes a family keep on ticking.
    I also notice this in the obits. It's usually where you are applauded for your achievements, and awards and memberships in organizations. But I always LOVE the ones that say, "She was a wonderful mother and grandmother and wife." Because that's a heck of a lot of life worth living right there.

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  29. Shawni this is so beautiful! Thanks for posting it, I really needed to hear it today!

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  30. I am so thankful for your blog, for your words. What a powerful post! Thank you.

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  31. Motherhood is magical and a tough job. But at the same time, I do not think it has to be the only thing a mom must or should do...
    Moms have responsibility to the society to bring the compassion that they have for their children. If all moms stay home, which is a choice, and focus only to raise their own children, who will make sure that our government is protecting the rights of our kids, the corporations are providing safe and nutritious food, and research is being done to treat our kids…
    I am a working mom and I love your blog. I love your passion for your family and your life perspective. Every day I struggle with the choices that I make to leave my kids.
    But please do not forget the choices that other moms have to make to be doctors who treat your kids, teachers who fill our kid’s brains and coaches who teach them hard work.

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  32. Thanks Shawni--your reverence for motherhood is so inspiring. I want to be a better mommy today!

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  33. amen shawn. this is great. love you.

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  34. I read this from a link from a friend's blog. You have written this all so thoughtfully and beautifully. Thank you so much for sharing that!

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