Sunday, September 17, 2006

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?
Nurturing, that's a good thing, right?
Not making a big deal out of everything, keeping it together, remaining pleasant, what's wrong with that?
If you asked all the women I know who they think are good mothers, they would describe the most nurturing, calm, pleasant, "nice" women they know.
Not the shrieker, she's a bitch.
Not the one that lets her kids figure out how to get out of their own problems, she's heartless.
I had lunch with a woman that has breast cancer. She told me that in the "energy world", the people involved in alternative health care, the belief is that breast cancer comes from over-nurturing or under-nurturing, and suppression. Usually over-nurturing our husbands and children, under-nurturing ourselves. Suppressing negative emotions, for years.
I can't get this out of my head. I know so many women that have had breast cancer, they are indeed, among the nicest women I've ever known. I'm not sure that had they been meaner, louder, more demonstrative and less nurturing to others that they would have had a different fate. I'm not sure if this belief can ever be studied and documented to the medical profession's satisfaction. I'm not sure it even matters. What matters to me, anyway, is that too much of a "good" thing, any good thing, can sometimes be worse than not enough.
Balance.
Moderation.
Self-care.
Self-awareness.
Do you ever hear anyone describing a "good" mother as someone that has these traits? Yea, me neither.

7 comments:

Jerri said...

Wonderful post, Carrie. So on target.

We should describe good mothers in those ways. Let's start today.

Anonymous said...

Carrie, so it's okay if I'm not at school EVERYDAY for drop-off and pick-up in order to keep some sanity in our household? Thanks.
CG

Carrie Wilson Link said...

CG - not only is it OK, it's highly recommended. You'll burn out soon enough! My goal this year is to have everyone say, "Carrie Who?"

Go Mama said...

Being a mother is so ripe with conflicts. The whole "good mother" thing is a trap. So is this current wave of child-centric "intensive mothering." Perhaps we should accept being "good enough" and leave it at that. We usually don't though. We hold ourselves up to some never-attainable standard and then miserably watch ourselves fall short.

I say, live your life and be happy. Be loud. Be messy. Be creative. Let your kids see you do your thing, judgment be damned. Being self-aware and seeking self-fulfillment is vital. We mothers are modeling this possibility (or not) to the next generation of men and women.

I'm so sorry to hear about your friends with breast cancer. Love, T

Ziji Wangmo said...

Great Post. My friend and I were just talking about how impossible it is to be a mother during these times when everyone's focus is on achievement and performance- the pendulum has swung to an extreme and here we are. Contemporary culture is moving way too fast and our children are showing signs of not being able to cope- eating disorders, anxiety, depression, self mutilation, etc. As mothers we are expected to keep up the pace as we cart our children around to the tutor, the sports and all the other activities hoping that we can provide them all the best advantages possible. What is this all about? I ask myself this every day.
We run ourselves into the ground trying to be everything that were cannot be.
We have to take back ourselves and our roles as women and mothers. We can't possibly do it all. We have to do our best and feel great about what transpires. We have to support each other - we have to look after ourselves, because no one else will.
Blessings to your friend with cancer.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I think it was Cheryl Richardson, on an Oprah show who did a visualization exercise that started something like this....."Imagine what it would have felt like to have a mother who took good care of herself."

Imagine? So much of the guilt and responsibility and sadness would be off the child's shoulders! So much permission would be granted to the child to do the same!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an inspiring post! Yes, my mother DID take good care of herself, but perhaps only because she had no choice (she had M.S.). I believe that her ability to nurture herself made her better able to nurture me too. We would laugh together all the time, and now I find myself the mother of a 6 and 9 year old who know that Mom needs to laugh with them and have time to read the NY Times sunday mornings MORE than they need to get shuttled to some soccer game. Perspective is key. I have little respect for women who sacrifice themselves on the alter of overscheduled "enrichment activities", but I AM in awe of the many women in this blog community who have special/ high needs kids and manage to keep everything, no, the important things, together and still laugh... Yes, "whatever doesn't kill you makes you funnier" indeed!