Have you heard of the term “A Motherhood Statement”? In essence, it’s a is a sweeping declaration or generalization, often about important things. Here’s a definition of the term motherhood statement from Wiktionary:
Noun: A vague, feel-good platitude, especially one made by a politician, that few people would disagree with. For example: “Our country must contribute to world peace.”
Remember Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality – when all the beauty pageant contestants were expected to say they wanted to solve “World Peace”? Those were classic motherhood statements.
So, a Motherhood Statement is a sweeping declaration or generalization, often about important things. In saying the statement, a topic’s value and importance is belittled, because it’s just assumed everyone knows all about it.
People Assume Motherhood is all About Feel-Good Platitudes
When I speak to friends and acquaintances about Treasuring Mothers, people often think they know exactly what I’m talking about, and jump to some massive conclusions. With each interaction, I describe my objective of placing value and honor on motherhood. And so often, the response is, “Ohhh – that’s so nice!”
Because, yeah, everyone knows all about mothers, don’t they. Mothers do the baby thing. And get to stay home and have a nice time with kids.
Then often, my little audience-of-one, looks at me with glazed-over eyes. And it’s like they are saying, “Oh, what a lovely thing for you to do!” Cheesy smile, just like Sandra Bullock’s in the video. They think I’m working on something which is all gooey, mushy, and sentimental.
And here’s the thing. Paradoxically, talking about Motherhood can be taken as a Motherhood Statement! It’s a huge issue, but it gets swept under the carpet as “just that thing you do”. And in the process, belittles the task.
How wrong can you be!
That’s not the flavor of Treasuring Mothers at all. Every mother knows this motherhood gig is all about real issues, and hard-hitting problems, which challenge you to the very core of your being. To survive, every mother uses a hefty combination of intellect, will, spirit and soul. You problem-solve and reconcile the difficulties and troubling issues. Motherhood is a full-on life-changing personal journey.
When having conversations with those well-meaning but glazed-over-eyed-people, we often start talking about the experiences their own mother had. And how that impacted them as a child. Then, suddenly, it all flows out. Yes, everyone has a story! But you have to get past that initial motherhood statement response, the all aglow, riding-off-into-the-sunset, type of thinking.
Looking Calm, with Hidden Panic
For me, motherhood was really hard. I lost my own mother to breast cancer when I was a teenager. When it came time to have children, it felt like I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps to nurture them. Without my mother in the background, it was difficult. While I had some great older women in the mix, the truth is, no one can ever take the place of your own mother.
Actually, I soldiered on using techniques I learnt when my mother died. It was the only thing I knew how to do: call out to God in desperation!’
Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
I was so much like a little duck with feet paddling very fast underwater, while I calmly got onto it.
I’m sure you do it too.
Mothers Come in All Shapes and Sizes
Having no mother around is one thing. But there are people who do motherhood under much more difficult circumstances. Some mothers care for critically ill or disabled children; some have children who have passed away; and others have no family support whatsoever!
There are also disabled mothers; abused mothers – physically, sexually, emotionally; mothers who lost their one and only chance at motherhood; and women who so desired to be mothers, but never had the opportunity.
There are common terms we all know: single mothers, teenage mothers, foster mothers, adoptive mothers and birth mothers. As well, let’s also acknowledge there are grandmothers who mother their grandchildren, mothers in war zones, and refugee mothers.
The list goes on.
Motherhood is Never Easy, but it IS Worth it
The thing is, even if you have none of those struggles, and you are a happily married with the average 1.8 children, motherhood is a challenging and epic life journey. From pregnancy onward, you are the heroine of your own story, navigating a series of personal challenges in addition to the highs and lows of parenthood.
To be a mother you have to be brave. You have to be patient. You need to draw on resources beyond your own knowledge. And you begin to realize there are so many things your mother never taught you.
You have a God-given responsibility to take seriously the task entrusted to you: to take a tiny little baby from Day-zero, all the way through to adulthood. And it is SO worth it!
So, don’t dismiss the enormous challenges of motherhood as simply a just another motherhood statement. While lots of people seem to do that, don’t be like them.
Instead, let’s learn from each other. By sharing your experiences, others gain so much from hearing your story. That’s what the Treasuring Mothers Facebook Community is for. To hear from one another. To become empowered to do this motherhood thing with love, attention and openness.
What’s your story? Can you describe your motherhood experience in just one sentence?
Why not have a go at it in the Reply box below?