She’d loved and lived and given life and lost it. The darkness that comes with the giving life and the losing it is enough to make any woman think this thing called living and loving is just not worth it. And from that place of dark and lost, she talked with her grandmother.
The word’s favorite smart-aleck, the Dowager Countess.
“I don’t think I’ll be a very good mother,” lamented Lady Mary Crawley in the most defeated tone imaginable.
Her grandmother’s reply spoke truth words directly from television screen to my heart. In a simple sentence, the Dowager described one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about motherhood. It’s taken me three and a half years of living and loving these little ones to realize this truth – but it’s a life-saving, life-giving, soul-cleansing truth that every single mother needs to know.
“You know my dear. There’s more than one type of good mother. You have a straightforward choice before you. You must choose either death or life.”
YES. Just yessss.
Motherhood has got to be the hardest job in the entire world. And for some crazy stupid reason we give life to our first born and all of a sudden we enter a world where everyone has an opinion for how we should raise and nurture this little being, and you feel helpless and clueless and scared sick that you’re going to make a decision that “messes up” your kid. And even if you’re lucky enough to feel confident you’re making the right choices for your offspring, you’re still poised and guarded against critical opinions, judgmental looks, meddlesome comments, sanctimonious remarks.
I don’t know why it’s that way for new mothers. It just is. And I hate it.
I’m sad to admit it but I believe we’re living in a culture of death – a culture that does not highly value life as it should…a culture that doesn’t give mothers the enormous props that it sure as heck should. Instead of being the crowning glory of society because of our role in shaping the future society, the culture doesn’t really know what to do with moms who give their all for the ones who are their all.
It’s taken me a long time to settle into my own skin and realize: there’s more than one type of good mother. And whether I give birth with an epidural in a hospital or do it naturally at home; whether I vaccinate or not; whether I breastfeed or bottle feed; whether I homeschool or not; whether my kids watch TV or eat sugar or play instruments or receive corporal punishment or not or not or not or do or not….I’m still a good mother.
And so are YOU.
I have a straight forward choice before me: I must choose either life – and be a mother who loves life, including my own – or death, and get sucked into the nasty putting-down, criticizing, judgmental, I’ll-never-win-and-I’ll-probably-fail attitude about motherhood.
You’re doing the hardest job on earth. And if you love your kids and make your parenting decisions out of love….well then in my humble opinion, you’re MORE than a good mother.
I think you’re a great one.
*(Photos courtesy of NYTimes.com, eOnline, and Masterpiece.)