On Mothering - Part 1

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Being a mother is certainly one of the most wonderful experiences over our lifetime. And being a mother can be one of the most challenging experiences over our lifetime. I know this, because I am a mother.

As many of us remark over the years of raising our children, no one really told us how to do this. With all the classes we have taken in school, parenting was not taught. Seldom are there classes where the knowledge and wisdom of mothering is shared in an organized and meaningful way. Often we are on our own to perform this most important job.

One of the challenges of mothering is learning how to bond and how to let go of our child, learning when to stop doing things for our child so they can do those things for them self, learning that mother and child share much and at the same time are separate human beings.

These are important relationship issues we do not necessarily think of directly as we parent. We are so intent upon being a good mother and doing what we believe is best for the child that we don’t stop to consider this together-and-separate dynamic until we run upon a problem of some sort in our relationship with the child or with our self.

As a mental health therapist, I work a great deal with what I call tangled relationships, relationships in which one person is over-functioning, over-involved, or over-reactive to someone else. I speak of an entanglement as involving loss of self in someone else. In healthy mothering, we do not want to do this. In healthy mothering we want to constantly be working to keep a balance between our self and the child, honoring our responsibilities to them and honoring that each of us have a self to respect and cultivate.

I have been asked to elaborate on this together-and-separate dynamic as it applies to mothering and will be doing so by responding to questions that were posed to me on this topic in seven more blogs between now and Mother’s Day.

More tomorrow.


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