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THE INVISIBLE PROBLEM – Part 3. Finding Our Value and Staying Sane Today

By September 7, 2016Blog

Cur­rent­ly moth­er­hood exists out­side the sphere of net worth mea­sure­ments, except as a cost in sick days and mater­ni­ty leave from paid work, or as a career-stop­per for all those degrees that go “nowhere”. Although in the big­ger pic­ture moth­er­hood could be seen as adding val­ue, as a solu­tion to nation­al ills, health expen­di­ture and per­son­al and soci­etal heartache, I couldn’t wait for cen­tral gov­ern­ment to wake up to this before I took action, my kids would have left home by then.

If I couldn’t change gov­ern­ment approach to social pol­i­cy I fig­ured I would have to change my approach to my days as a moth­er. So I took my life into my own hands. The per­son­al is polit­i­cal after all.

I chose to stay at home with my chil­dren, work­ing with the impor­tant task of rais­ing them with the most love I could pro­vide, the most care and atten­tion, and apply all my skill, train­ing and expe­ri­ence. And I was good at it. Still am. I also strug­gled. I felt the frus­tra­tion of not pur­su­ing my recog­nised career. I felt the chal­lenges of tired­ness, domes­tic­i­ty, and in amongst the gems, laugh­ter and feats of the day, I might snap, shout, com­plain, blame, give in, feel lone­ly. I was not always the per­son I want­ed to be. I could get to the end of the day feel­ing ground down, invis­i­ble, unpro­duc­tive, unsuc­cess­ful, like I wasn’t a very good mum, like I wasn’t a very good per­son.

The human solu­tion I came to was to live beyond the par­a­digm of cur­rent social pol­i­cy, to live as I would want to live in any sit­u­a­tion. In response to the close-up chal­lenges of con­tem­po­rary moth­er­hood I decid­ed it would be my train­ing ground in grat­i­tude, appre­ci­a­tion, com­pas­sion­ate learn­ing, mind­ful breath­ing, con­scious lan­guage, adjust­ing expec­ta­tions, embrac­ing the light and the dark, tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty, find­ing joy and pur­pose in mun­dane tasks, patience with myself and oth­ers, assess­ing what mat­ters, for­give­ness, col­lab­o­rat­ing with life, valu­ing my choice, work­ing with what I’ve got, tak­ing care of anger, choos­ing my habits, mak­ing friends with time, being good enough, dis­cern­ment, self-care, grow­ing good­ness, choos­ing hap­pi­ness now, liv­ing with clear pur­pose, reach­ing out to build con­nec­tion.

I chose to prac­tice these things, to make devel­op­ing these things con­scious­ly my human mis­sion and to embrace moth­er­hood as a path to becom­ing my best self.

All moth­ers want to be the best moth­ers we can, we want the best for our chil­dren more than any­thing else. We’ll be the best humans we can for our kids, when we wouldn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly do it for our col­leagues, neigh­bours, or even our­selves. And we so often go it alone in our moth­er­ing days, feel­ing inside like we sink or swim alone, cop­ing, mak­ing do, get­ting to the end of the day drown­ing not wav­ing, while oth­ers appear to glide through.

I know many of us, most of us, near­ly all of us, aren’t glid­ing. We’re grap­pling because it’s impor­tant and invis­i­ble work that mat­ters to us. We’re try­ing to do and be our best, to pass on our best habits but in the stress of the day so often react, and enact our less con­scious respons­es. One day we’re nail­ing moth­er­hood, the next it’s nail­ing us. I’m propos­ing that we don’t just get through, each in our box, com­par­ing, wor­ry­ing, strug­gling. I pro­pose that we engage with the most polit­i­cal act we can, claim our val­ue as moth­ers, stand for the best of human­i­ty amongst the insan­i­ty of a sys­tem that val­ues mon­ey, sta­tus and things over human worth.

Pol­i­cy is typ­i­cal­ly a late adopter, but we have not a moment to lose. Now is the only time for our love and joy. Now is the time con­nect to our­selves, our human pur­pose and worth, and to recog­nise it in each oth­er. Drop the judge­ment and talk, let go the shame of a mess, a bad day, the over­whelm­ing hor­ror of fail­ing as a moth­er, and be along­side each oth­er shar­ing not what we did wrong or didn’t do right, but what we are prac­tic­ing, and how.

We’re not trained for moth­er­hood, or for con­nect­ing with­out judge­ment and com­par­i­son. In fact, we’re pro­grammed to com­pete, to fit in. But we are also pro­grammed to love, to include, to assess risks, it just depends on what we choose to favour. We prac­tice tol­er­ance, sac­ri­fice, com­pas­sion, restraint, and more for our chil­dren. I sug­gest while we’re there we go for it, let’s have it for our­selves too. And it’ll rip­ple out, affect our part­ners, our par­ents, our col­leagues, our com­mu­ni­ties. The more we do this the big­ger dif­fer­ence we can make, the more we live this the more we’ll be the peo­ple we want to be, the soci­ety we want to be, live to love, appre­ci­ate all we have and the won­der of our being at all, and leave behind us a bet­ter world for our hav­ing been in it.

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