Saturday, May 9, 2015

Being a Mother

Last week I had the privilege of speaking to the mothers and special friends who could attend our school's Mother's Day celebration.  I share a slightly amended version of my opening speech, below, for those who could not make it or would just like to revisit the points I touched on.  A Happy Mother's Day to each of you; enjoy those breakfasts in bed, nature walks, handmade gifts, kisses and hugs, and hopefully peaceful, self-indulgent moments on Sunday!


MOTHERHOOD

As mothers, we try to create harmony in our lives, holding everything together and striving to keep things in balance. In our hearts, our children are our focus, the reason we sacrifice, juggle, make the choices we do.

We are fortunate, in this culture and time, that we have choices and opportunities to be both mother and professional, if we want to take that path. But we are also busier than ever and the stakes seem higher in getting it right. It’s important that we have each other, that we have community and the supports we need to feel at peace as we go through our day. I want our school to be that for you.  I want us to be that for each other.

That’s why next year we are dedicated a room for parents to come in and connect with each other, any time of day, and are offering the time-saving convenience of a healthy daily lunch service in support of busy parents. You’ll be receiving information soon about a Parent Association beginning next year that will encourage these connections, having a voice, and participating meaningfully in our community in a way that matches your availability and interests. Mostly, we will be encouraging connections between you as parents and members of our special community here at Princeton Montessori School.  Let’s make a commitment to support each other in this amazing adventure of Motherhood for it is our most important role!

SCIENCE OF MOTHERHOOD

Scientifically speaking, we know that motherhood shifts us emotionally. Even before we gave birth, pregnancy tinkered with the very structure of our brain. Activity increased in regions that control empathy, social interaction, and unfortunately, anxiety!  These changes, along with a flood of hormones, helped attract us to our baby. Those maternal feelings of overwhelming love, fierce protectiveness, and constant worry began neurologically but even before we 'met' our babies, we fell in love beyond the biological connection.

There are also physiological changes that happen, as we can all attest to, but there are also other surprises. Recently, I read a blog titled, ‘What No One Told Me About Motherhood’. The list of those surprises went something like this, through the stages of being a mom:

Surprise #1.  That they let you take the baby home from the hospital. Without supervision!

Surprise #2.  How much you will need and want your own mother. Nobody will take care of YOU as well as she will and you need taking care of!

Surprise #3.  That you can do without sleep and multitask for years...not just those first months as a mother.

Surprise #4.  That your heart will never be the same again and your understanding of love before motherhood versus after is like the light of a single star compared to the light of the universe.

MOTHER'S DAY

On Mother's Day, we take time out of our busy lives to pause and be appreciated, to allow our children and spouses to pamper us, and to reflect on this amazing journey called 'motherhood'. Let us remember, at other times of the year too, that we need supports.  Let us be there for each other informally, meaningfully, and with hearts and minds connected through our common goal - to nurture and support our children in the way we know they should be.

From one mother to all of you, I acknowledge you, celebrate you, and thank you. Together, and along side their partners, we are doing the most important work in all the world!