Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as ‘The Great Divine Mother’ in Hinduism. She is often depicted with 4-6 arms balancing different elements.
Mother’s Day always makes me reflect on my parenting abilities and style. A friend of mine recently wrote a piece called I’m Not the Mother I Thought I’d Be, and I have to say that I’m not either. I wonder if any of us are?
My mother was a trailblazer of the Attachment parenting movement. She ran the local La Leche League at a time when breastfeeding was still taboo, air-dried all of our laundry so as not to waste electricity or harm the environment, and cooked a healthy meal for us every night, seven days a week. She selflessly raised four kids, with several of us sleeping in her and my father’s king-sized waterbed most nights. All of that “attachment” seemed to come with a price. I rarely saw my mother take time for herself or spend money on anything personal. From a young age it was evident to me (the oldest of the bunch) that she was running herself ragged. Frankly, she had well-adjusted children, but she seemed endlessly exhausted. To this day, “I’m so busy” is one of her signature phrases.
I didn’t want that kind of life. I had no aspirations of motherhood until I became pregnant. That may sound harsh or unfeminine, but it wasn’t that I didn’t love children I just loved my freedom. I wanted to continue my higher education and achieve a meaningful career. (I had no idea what that meant, but I figured with hard work and dedication it would eventually materialize…)
When I had my daughter, I was determined to set the rules. I was going to train her to sleep through the night. I bought On Becoming Baby Wise and followed it to a T. Not only was I going to master her sleep schedule, I was going to be a Tiger Mom, push my daughter to hone her natural abilities and become an Alpha Baby. After one particularly difficult evening, I gave in and let my two-month old sleep in the bed with us… Six hours later we were all still happily sleeping… Regardless of the mom I thought I was going to be, my natural style fell more closely in line with the way I was raised.
Classic slip-on Ballet-Flat by ECCO is not only comfortable but pairs adorably with dresses, shorts, and cuffed jeans. The versatile design is elegant enough to wear to the boardroom and supportive enough to chase after a toddler on a playground. Rich leathers and an adorable bow lace detail make this the ultimate shoe for cultivating BALANCE.
I came to accept that I’m more of natural Attachment parenting style person—because of nurture or personality? I didn’t know. But I did know that I had to give up the internal battle I was having with myself. I didn’t want to become depleted like my mother! It was only when I faced that fear that I was able to allow myself to accept my mother (and my own inherent parenting style) and allow the sadness I held for years that while my mom certainly took great care of her children, she wasn’t so great at taking care of herself—which is something I think a lot of moms can relate to.
While I by no means have discovered the secret of balancing work and motherhood, I know that self-care is the way I remain a somewhat decent mother and person. I’m the best mom when I’m present. I stay the most present by taking care of my body (working out), taking care of my mind (by making strides in my career) and creating time for my spiritual life (meditation practice). By making those things a priority, my battery is charged so I can fully participate in my kid’s life as well as my own. When I let any one of those three aspects go, I find myself glossing over and simply going through the motions of motherhood. I start to hear myself saying things like, “I’m so busy” or “I’m overwhelmed.” Those are sure signs that it’s time for me to get back to my basic self-care routines.
The Sara Dress by Carol Young / Undesigned will be one of my favorite summer dresses. Its loose fit makes it effortless to wear while ruffle sleeves and two front pockets add loads of personality.
I’m probably never going to be an Alpha Mom, nor am I going to move to the country and have several children who sleep in my bed every night. I’m something in between. I’m an in-the-middle kind of mom. The kind my daughter will probably someday strive not to be— none of us really want to become our parents, right? I accept and love who my mother was (and is) and all of the ways I am similar and different. And I sincerely hope that my little one will someday feel the same way about me.