Two things you should know about me:
One: I am a mother of three teens and pre-teens in a blended family.
I've been a mother for fourteen years. Before I was a mother I was a daughter, a sister, a niece, a wife. I am still these things, though some of the relationships have changed by proximity, transition, divorce. But once I became a mother, these other relational titles faded in comparison.
In these fourteen years of motherhood I've moved ten times. I've been an at home mother of infants and toddlers, a graduate school mother, a full time working mother of school age children, an entrepreneurial mother, a homeschooling mother, a stepmother, a long distance mother, a married mother, a single mother, a remarried mother, a mother of a child with special needs. I have been supported in countless ways by my family, friends, neighbors. I have felt, as a mother, beloved.
And I have felt the betrayal of living in a culture where parenting is an addendum, an auxiliary occupation, a "choice", considered unprofessional, not real work. I have felt incredible anger at living in a time where parenting is something we are expected to do in private, on the side, and where there is a necessity for both parents to work full time for economic survival without any sense of proportion to the time given to the raising of a child.
Parenting, I've learned, mothering, is a full time job. Whether you are at work or working at home.
My mothering life is complex. But so is all of ours. With varying degrees of isolation and burdens we carry when our humanness, our nature, could be nourished in community, in sharing.
On this International Women's Day I honor the mothers, everywhere. In every capacity. When we can bring our mothering forward into our work, into the fullness of life, and have it acknowledged and accepted as contributing to the good of the world, creatively and professionally, we can live as we are: whole.
Because I have lived in quite a range through my parenting years, I would say this: being at home and working full time were for me equally hard. I would advocate for a totally different paradigm, one where great paying part time jobs that offer both benefits and retirement to parents of any gender are not just normative but culturally celebrated. We should not ever have to choose between our jobs and our children. Nor should we confuse the work of the home with being the summit of our creative or intellectual capacities. This is a both/and universe, not an either/or.
And the other thing:
I am a spiritual multigenere artist. And this looks really weird sometimes. Forever I've resisted expressing who I am, because it is messy, silly, out there (like, far out there), scary, not professionally palatable. Even with all of my education and experience, I am still justifying myself, thinking if I just had one more credential I could be who I really am. Legitimized.
One of the greatest gifts of my work with Moon Divas, Magnetize Studio and my business consulting clients is that I get to notice patterns, stories, ancient and cellular that play again and again through us all.
This is an old story, one I'm sure is rooted in the denial of the feminine, the repression of natural knowledge and spiritual connection with the earth. It is a story of fear, that if you don't fit the model you won't be heard. That if you stand out too much you will be cut down.
For women many places in the world we know this is a reality. To stand up for themselves or for others is a tremendous risk. Yet, what do we risk here? Our reputation? Our livelihood? Do we really believe that we cannot stand in the power of who we truly are?
Listen, please, sisters daughters mothers everywhere. You are perfect, right now. This world needs YOUR unique gifts. You don't need more credentials, more certificates, more degrees, more experience. You must do it now, that thing you have been wishing your whole life to get to. The voice you have been trying your whole life to access. The art you have been needing your whole life to make.
Be you. Big, bold, beautiful, messy, silly, way out, scary. Real. Let's use our privilege and power to rise up against the systems that cause women everywhere to be at risk. Let's teach our daughters and sons that their true goal in life is nothing more than to BE WHO THEY ARE, so that they can help others everywhere do the same.
In our wholeness, healing. In our healing, the mending of the wound that is just a story. Stories, even thousands of years in the making, can be changed.
Together we make a new story, together, we make the world.