Maternal Love Letter
This is a love letter to everything maternal about women and it’s to you, whoever you are – whether or not you have children, and whether or not you ever will. This letter is for you because if you’re a feminine creature, you have the eternal maternal within you.
The eternal maternal is the part of you that nurtures, that feels and understands other people’s emotions instinctively, that wants to protect, uplift, support those around you. It’s the part of you that offers a warm hug to a friend in a crisis, the part of you that takes food to your loved ones when they’re sick, and – most importantly – the part of you that creates (whether that’s creating music, or art, or a business, or an idea or a human being!!!).
Mother is a pretty interesting word – There’s Mother worship, Mothership, Mother Earth, Mother of Invention, and the Motherlode. When we use the word “mother”, we are almost always referring to something of greatness. Haven’t you noticed? I have. And then, of course, there’s the greatest one of all – Motherhood.
Motherhood is a pretty sacred subject, so I have to be careful how I discuss it. And to begin, I have to say this—I think my mother was a saint. She gave birth to nine of us! She was the epitome of selflessness and unconditional love. If I said to her, in passing, how much I liked a piece of jewelry she was wearing, she would take it off and give it to me. If I said I was hungry, she would forgo her own needs and let me eat her food.
It wasn’t just for me that she did this. She did it for nine children! She must have been very hungry raising us. Not just for food, but for other things as well. I mean, she never got to have her own career; she never got to roam the world with a lover; she never got to climb any mountains or be the adventurer that she always dreamed of being. She didn’t get to live at the beach even though she had yearned for it for all of my waking life. She loved saltwater taffy and the east coast smell of the ocean, but she never knew what it was like to go to bed and wake up, beside it.
My mother was beautiful. She had piercing blue eyes and gorgeous black hair. She used to sing everywhere. All-day long. She had a voice like a sparrow. And in another lifetime, a lifetime without nine children, she might have sung on stages or in movies. She might have traveled the world singing and dancing.
I think often of my mother, I think of what she didn’t do as well as what she did. I think of her sacrifices. I wonder how she felt at the end of her life. If she had regrets.
When I became a mother myself I thought about her even more often. What I began to see was the previously veiled experiences of her Motherhood journey that I had not yet had the opportunity to fully understand. On entering my own Motherhood journey, however, I began to understand it., I was so humbled at the enormity of Motherhood that I wanted to throw myself at my mom’s feet and beg her forgiveness for every asinine, bitchy, teen tantrum that I ever threw. In fact, I vowed to begin a new religion based on Mother worship (enter S Factor!).
I was never so tired, so sad, so lonely, so stir crazy, or so frustrated with the endless crying as I was when I first became a mother. Yes, birthing a child was a lesson in instant humility. Raising a child? Even more so. Some days I felt I was close – dangerously close – to disappearing off the face of the Earth.
Let’s face it … the job of ‘mothering’ is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. And sometimes it downright sucks. There, I’ve said it (and thank God truths like this are starting to increase in public consciousness). I mean, in what other area of employment, or life, do you get pinched, poked, scratched, covered with all kinds of disgusting food items, and urinated on? It sounds a lot like being a wild animal trainer. And, if the shoe fits… that’s what we are — and forget the trainer part….no if we want to leave our children wild then we’re wild animal caretakers! It makes sense. The only difference is that, at the end of the day, a wild animal caretaker can walk away and leave those babies by themselves in a cage and have a LIFE!
And for those of you who do have children, you might be asking, “A life? What’s that?” And if you don’t have children then this still pertains to you because I believe you’re still a mother in your own way—Mother to a job, a pet, a lover, a career, or a series of friends. You are a mother.
Some mothers are crazy; some mothers are dedicated, awesome, and have no life. And, sadly, some mothers are so wrapped up in the giving tree role that their entire life becomes focused on being the PERFECT mother. What even is that? What is the “perfect” Mother?
I’m going to let you in on a secret. There’s no such thing. So the big question is: how do you maintain a “life”, an identity integrated with Motherhood when you decide to procreate? This is a struggle for so many of the women I know. The greatest gift you can give your children is a mother with a full, rich, passionate, fun, sexy life. It’s also the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Just because you have an exquisite, wild animal child or two in your life doesn’t mean you need to lose your hotness, your youth, your fire, your meowwww, your roar, or your purr.
So here’s what you need to do, in honor of Mother’s Day.
Dress yourself up. Do it for yourself. Take yourself out and get your hair cut or styled, or stay home, lock yourself in your bathroom and do your own nails in some fun crazy color. TREAT yourself. And after Mother’s Day passes as all days do, I want you to look at that new, cool haircut, or crazy nail color, or whatever you get done when you’re passing the mirror in the morning, or when you catch your reflection in a window, and say to yourself, “I’m a cool, hot woman. And I am God-like, I made a human being in my body and birthed them out of my VAGINA! Or, for those that have had cesareans like me, out of my ABDOMEN!!!!!”
Next, just for the hell of it, put on some lipstick — use a fiery plum or scintillating red, and if you’re feeling really ambitious, add a dash of blush and blue (yes, blue, why not?) eyeliner. Do it daily. Do it first thing in the morning, every day. And when you catch a glimpse of that luscious babe in the rearview mirror as you’re driving, it’ll be you! No more pasty-faced days where you feel invisible, tired-eyed, and, well, over the hill of delirious. Not anymore. You deserve so much better. So, even when you’re tempted, don’t put that luscious new haircut up into a scrunchie. Let it hang down – let it be totally wild and free. I mean, who invented scrunchies anyway?
And I know, I know. I’m a mother; there are times when you would sell your soul for a scrunchie. Like when the little one is eating a melting, syrupy, sweet dish and you’re holding her in your arms… That sounds like scrunchie time to me. Or when the little one has a bout of the stomach flu and you’re holding them in your arms knowing exactly what is soon to come…. scrunchie time for sure!
So, keep the scrunchie. Keep it for when you most need it. But just make sure you know when to rip it out of your hair and let the goddess fly free. The kid is safely strapped in the backseat of the car and there’s a great song on the radio? Open the windows, turn up the tunes, and let the wind whip around you unencumbered. Your little one is playing left field in a two (yes, two) hour little league game and it’s a gorgeous day with a great breeze blowing? Lose the scrunchie and let your hair flow and fly unleashed.
You’re not just the ‘mother of some child.’ You’re not just ‘someone’s wife/girlfriend.’ You’re not just ‘some company’s female executive.’ You’re that wild child from high school. You’re that cocky rebel from your earlier life. Remember her? She’s there, just waiting to come back out. And she can come out. And when she does, you can still nurture and take care of your beautiful babies. You can still be a respectable member of the PTA and the ladies’ power lunch club. But (!) you can do it with the new haircut and nails and lipstick.
So go throw on a pair of heels, my love, and hi-rise Joe jeans — go celebrate your motherhood but don’t lose sight of the badass inside who got you here. Don’t lose your outlaw. Don’t lose the fiery, sultry woman inside of you who lives life to its fullest with kids in tow, eyes aflame, and hair blowing in the wind.
I would love to hear your comments and thoughts. Please leave a message beauty xo Sheila