Tuesday, October 6

Mindful Mama, Authentic Self

Some women are 'natural' mothers. They are fulfilled by time with their children and all aspects of their role. They can do copious amounts of floor-time, and usually experience empty-nest syndrome. They don't concern themselves much with their own needs. They tend to form friendships almost exclusively with other mothers and enjoy talking about their children.

Some women accept motherhood as a small aspect of their lives. They love their children but feel best with them in nurseries, schools, or with nannies/childminders. They don't spend hours contemplating the impact of their choices on their children or analysing to death their child's behaviours. They have many personal needs. Alone time is either for creativity or simply 'me time'. Their choices tend to go with the social (family or larger community) flow.

Then there is a mother who is a different creature. She spends a lot of time pondering her children and their lives. She analyses her choices. She is not content with having someone else raise them (sometimes, to educate them). She wants to be with her children but she can't sit through lengthy floor-time. She has many personal needs and sees all the needs of her child. She desperately needs to give expression to other aspects of herself. Alone time is almost always for creativity (in the broadest sense). She is not fulfilled by her mothering role. She is a mindful mother, but she is more. She often struggles with the conflicting aspects.

No type is better or preferrable than the other, although we often think that way. These are natural ways of being.

The latter type of mother is me.
I'm attempting to find balance and peace with this. And to see the different aspects not as conflicting, but as simply different, challenging (which is a good thing), but ultimately all symbiotic.
This is what poured out of me.

right click on image and save to your pc

Mindful Mama - Authentic Self
: a declaration

Parenthood is a gift.
I have many passions.
My child is my heart.
I am a multifaceted being.
My child's needs come before my own.
Not 'in place of' my own.
Nothing is a sacrifice.
I choose to do from love.
I am there when my child needs me.
I take space for myself.

Mindful Parenting

I value every aspect of my child's world as soulfully, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally significant in her development as a person.
I think about and weigh up challenges, issues, and potentials, as well as small daily living, and its impact on her.
I make decisions that I feel are best for my child but might be challenging for me.
I move towards an ideal of parenting.

Authentic Self

I express all that I am, without apology.
I am open and flexible with my opinions, philosophies, and beliefs.
I relish the perfection of my imperfection.
I do not compromise my Self.
I live noone's life but my own.
I do not ignore my passions or what brings me joy.
I am mindful but not obsessive as a parent.
I allow myself a full voice (I weep, grieve, shout, laugh, as I need to).
I recognise and honour every aspect of myself  (woman, creatrix, writer, mother, soul...)
I make challenging decisions from love, instead of guilt, obligation, or martyrdom.
I respect everyone, I help many, I nurture some, I please myself.
I don't demand that I reach an ideal.
I let go what no longer works for me or adds to my soul.
I recognise that authenticity is everyone's right - what is right for me or my child is not the same for everyone.

There are others...let's connect. (add yourself if you're this mama type)


  1. Your words are amazing. I feel like you are speaking directly to me. I will print out this post and read it often. Thank you so much for voicing those concerns and hopes.

  2. Oh, my Dear....

    thank you thank you thank you one hundred thousand times over for distilling all of this...

    ...this description that is completely, utterly and devastatingly ME. *sniffle*

    Beautiful connection, indeed ;)

    Okay if I print this out and post it somewhere I can see it? :) you know...for those weak moments when someone elses voice gets in my head?


  3. Thank you so much for this post. I have never really known how to define myself as a parent, never really fit into "normal" parenting styles, then WHAM! I had a few minutes so I was on the computer and I read your latest post and it is ME!
    And I am not alone, thank you!

  4. Mon, so lovely thank you. I love that there was no judgment in your three descriptions. And that in your description of the mindful mama you captured so perfectly how many of us feel and what we strive for. As usual. I think the comments are going to be filled with mothers who relate to this- it is who you attract, and this kind of post is why! You are so often able to voice these things for many of us, things that I know I, at least, don't think I could capture. I hope you know this about yourself, since you are writing these days...
    The Linky thing - is this if we do a related post? Wasn't clear on that...

  5. That is so wonderful! I love your calm and clear statement of authenticity. And even though I am one of those women who is fulfilled by motherhood and has empty nest syndrome when my dd is at scouts for two hours (but I still hate floor time!)I feel I can now stand up and claim that as part of *my* authenticity.

    It is something very beautiful when you can openly declare who you are and still offer a welcoming spirit to those who are different. Yet another reason to adoooooooore you! ;-)

  6. I love this post as it really gets me thinking. Which one am I? I feel that part of me is #2 and part #1, with some desire to be #3. I think what this post gives me is a desire to be more mindful.

  7. I love this post. You have expressed a lot of thoughts that have been running around my head, and I'm not sure where I sit in your decriptions. I love the fact that you can accept that you are a very mindful mother but can also make peace with the fact that you must fulfil your own needs as well. As you have been over many times recently, "being a good mother" does not equate to "devoting yourself to your child". And I wish I could I "relish the perfection of my imperfection".

  8. Thanks for putting that into words. I'm a #3 too!

  9. I too am a "mindful mama". Thanks so much for this post. I was struggling with this lately, wishing I was more of a "natural mama".

  10. I am very much as you described. My children are my priority, but I do have many other passions, other than being a mother, that make me who I am as a person. I applaud you for realizing this so soon on your mothering journey. It took me about 6 years to stop neglecting myself for a total outpouring towards my children. Since I started to give to me, we are all happier for it.

  11. I am so a "mindful mama". Thanks for your post. I think I needed to read that today.

  12. Your blog looks lovely, fresh, bold and cozy at the same time, i like it very much.
    Congratulations for having acomplished one more year of living, wishing you the best always.
    I had to comment here, because what you describe is exactly how i feel, i couldn´t agree more with what you wrote.
    I consider myself a mindful mama trying as much as i can to expresse my authentic self, sometimes it´s very hard, and i do sleep very late at times just to be with me alone, to hear me think without interruptions, to reconnect with the voice and needs of my soul, cause if i don´t, i start hating myself and everyone around and i lose my joy of living.
    I´m so glad to read what i feel in your words,and feelinf connected and understood.
    A big hug from a mindful mama to another, blessings!

  13. Of all the things I need to read right now - this moment - it's this Mon. I think I am number 3, and I am really struggling with conflicting aspects, (due to homeschooling). Now more than I have since my child was a baby and toddler.

    I think your declaration is beautiful, and speaks that truth so clearly. But I do have one question...how do you have space for yourself???? Ahem. As I said, I am struggling : )

  14. My whole life I wanted to be a mother, and that was what was most important to me. But at the same time I always wanted to do something creative and never gave up on that dream either. Being a mother comes very naturally to me, yet I don't fit that first description, but rather the last one. Over the years I have found it interesting that some mothers can spend all their time with their children with no thought for their own interests, and other mothers spend more time on their own interests than on their children. But yes, as you clearly put it, there are these three types. I was happy when I discovered that there is a middle-ground, which is where I fit in.

  15. You really amaze me Mon. I don't have the words to express how I feel half the time, then I come over here and you've somehow pulled it from my inner-self, that deep down inner-self. Balance is so complicated and I struggle daily. Thank you so much for this post and your beautiful site. The site really looks incredible btw, I love the moving photos at the top!


  16. Hi again, i was wondering if i could copy and translate your beautiful post to spanish wich is my language and put it in my blog, (of course giving you full credit for it), with a link here, because i really liked it so much and think it will be very useful to lots of mamas worldwide, and some of them can´t read in English.
    I would never do it without your permission, so, if you agree, please let me know.
    No matter what your answer is, thank you very much for your words!

  17. Yes!

    This is pulled together so nicely... I have the sense that people think I've given myself up for my children when just the opposite is true: I have found myself.

    And I'm glad I found you. :)


  18. Ohhh. I have so many opinions about this running through my head....I am most certainly the mama who has and indeed needs other interests, to move through maiden AND mother and crone all in one day!
    Thanks for visiting my blog, I LOVE yours and think I may find many kindreds here....how utterly refreshing!

  19. I'm glad to hear that the clarity that helped me has helped others.

    And isn't it always a good feeling to find like-minded or sympathetic souls?

  20. Mon, thanks so much for this.

    I was the first type for a long time. Then I realized I had lost myself. Now I am trying to balance, let go of the guilt and love myself as much as I love my children. As they grow older it is getting easier. I find them wanting to explore my passions as well.

    Regardless of what mama we are, if what we are doing fills our souls than we are the best we can be.

  21. oh and i love the new look, excellent look!

  22. I realized a long time ago that I was not mother #2 (even before I was a mother). Now if I could just let go of the illusion that I'm mother #1, we'd be in good shape! I've tried it on over and over and it just never seems to fit right. Too tight here, too loose there. Without guilt, I can now admit: I am wholeheartedly, no-doubt-about-it mother #3.

  23. I actually think that most mothers fall into the #3 description. What women feel and express is, of course, often repressed. Sometimes what seems like mom #1 or 2 on the outside is really just complete survival mode for a mom #3.

    I believe this is the essential challenge:
    "I express all that I am, without apology." Shaking off those societal expectations...

  24. I'm off to blog about this post. What you wrote was powerful and to top it off you created a space for other moms to connect. Simply Brilliant.

  25. That is such a wonderful post! I had a pretty stressful day with my twins today and your article was just the right thing for me to read. Thank you again for writing such an inspiring article and for letting us, different moms, connect!

  26. I came over from Stacey's blog for a visit. This is so nice! As I mentioned there, I have been a mom going on 33 years so in that time I have struggled with the issue of authenticity to my spirit and giving my children 100% of me at the same time. It is a balance.

    However I have come to understand that we do our children a disservice, especially our daughters, when we teach them that our own needs can be sacrificed at the alter of caring for others. This is how we end up with obesity, poor health, depression and loss of self-worth, and self-identity issues. Then our children grow up and repeat the process.

    When we learn the ebb and flow of this authenticity balance, we give our children a very precious gift.

  27. Thankyou for that Wendi. I totally agree with you about reproducing cycles. So many mothers believe they must sacrifice and forget themselves, without thought what that means we're teaching our children.

  28. Wow. And again, wow! It's Christmas Day as I write this, and I'm alone - my little boy is with his Daddy.

    Well-meaning friends have repeatedly asked me how I could choose to be on my own on this day (despite many invitations), and only a few (all mothers) have come close to "getting it".

    Then I read this amazing post, which paints me to a T, and I realize I have stumbled over a blog/community filled with "like-minded and sympathetic souls" who would totally understand how a week of peace and introspection is a blessing at ANY time of the year, yet alone at this turning point into a new year. I'm spending the time planning for the year ahead, full of excitement at the fresh challenges I am taking on as a result of my year of introspection.

    I have been struggling for a long time with this sense of conflict between the mother I want to be for my son, and the person I need to be for myself. It's so wonderful to have that conflict so clearly and beautifully articulated - I'm printing this post for my wall, to inspire me and remind me I am definitely not alone. Thanks, Mon!

  29. I put my name on the list of links, but I feel the need to confess that *ideally* I am a Mindful Mama; I don't always achieve it in reality.

    I keep trying, though. :)

  30. What a beautiful post. I have had a childless friend tell me that I lost myself when I had my son...and I was so angry because more than anything I feel like I've found myself through him. Keeping that balance is so challenging at times - being there for him (I'm a SAHM and we are also unschoolers) and to find time for me. I'm working on it though and have gotten much better this year. I'm so glad to have found you. Happy New Year. Debbie

  31. your declaration resonates with me
    a description is more fitting than a single term-single terms label and don't encompass all that is-they can be narrow and difficult to adhere to
    thank you for sharing!

    being your authentic self while parenting is a gift to both you and your child

    in my experience, as my children have grown, i have also grown
    and as they become more independent, i too have become more independent and have time to pursue my interests as they pursue theirs
    this to me, is an important model of a primary caregiver-one who is passionate about family but who also explores her passions-as that is what i hope for their lives, now and in the future!

    keep being you, fully.

  32. How could someone I never met see so deeply into my own heart about how I live life. The improtance. For so long I struggled to fit in with other groups, I always seemed to be on the outside of the box looking in and wondering why I did not fit. Through the years I simply accepted it as being different and never would. However, you have given my heart wings to soar, because it is wonderful to be me and there are other mothers like ME - not like my mom. I'm definately a #3. Oh, by the way I adore your Video Spot!!

  33. oh! I'm most certainly a mindful mama, and your post made my heart sing :-)

  34. I love these descriptions. So apt, and so elequently expressed without judgement or condemnation or sentiment. I used to think that I was a No 1, I knew I'd not be a No 2 (against just about everyone else I knew when I first had C), but I'm becoming increasingly aware that I really fit at No 3 - I care deeply and passionately about my children, I consider their well being in every aspect of my life and prioritise their needs, but acknowledge I have needs of my own and that I need other things in my life as well as being a mama to be a complete and fulfilled mama, if that makes sense. Looking forward to getting to know some of the other mamas on this list.

  35. Argh, wow,! I LOVE this post, and am so happy to have found your blog and a collection of others of the same mind. I'm not crazy! I'm not alone! Today was hard, this has lifted me. Now, how do I manage my time to explore everyones journeys! hmm haha :)

  36. Your words are very inspiring, in very different posts of yours. It´s so good to find other moms on the same boat, thinking alike, far from the typical critics we meet in a mainstream crowd.

    Cheers to the internet to bring all of these wonderful moms getting together and sharing their mindfull and authentic selves.

  37. wow! I just read this. Your writing is so insightful and spot on! you trult have a gift here and I am taken aback by this and needed to read it.

    I am a mindful Mom and I tell you, I am too obsessive & I am working on looking after myself. I become racked with guilt with any negative thought I might have about my daughter and constantly trying to find new projects, use positive discipline and validation as much as possible and extended breastfeeding... sometimes it is utterly overwhelming & I have to step back.

    Thank You for this - I am on the search of my authentic self and how to connect to her and express her.


  38. monica, dear blessed soul! so happy you found my blog and commented today. so glad to have sought your blogs out, then i found this page... been NEEDING this definition. been craving this. been feeling lost, not one of the club, any club. and then there's this. why did it take so long!? printing this now. linking now. thank you. not alone after all! sigh of contentment. yes.

  39. As I read these words, I am in tears.
    Yes! yes! yes!

    I need to embrace all of what brings me joy. Learning to balance the 'differences' in my roles as mother, wife, woman....

    I have arrived here just on time!
    Thank you!!!

  40. lovely post and lovely blog. i'll be back often for visits. :) happy day to you.

  41. Stumbling along the web, I find this. Thanks so much. This is beautiful and it feels wonderful...

  42. Well I think we know who else is behind door number 3 - ME! I am right where you are and it's a slow uphill climb to letting go of all the guilt associated with taking time for oneself and of not over analysing every damn thing we think, do and say. I AM a mindful mamma, even when I don't think I'm a good mamma. I try VERY hard, All. The. Time. It's good to know that I'm not alone in this. In fact, I'm in very special company. As always, Mon - you hit the spot.

  43. Thank you for this. You've put to words what I have sometimes struggled to express!

  44. me permito decirme también una mamá como la describes acá.
    yo educo mi cria para el mundo. y sé que si yo no hubiera seguido por los caminos que recorrí, yo no sería una buena madre para ellos.
    y por eso mismo me permito ser mamá pero también muchas otras cosas, habitan en mí mil mujeres!
    y todas ellas me completan y me hacen una mejor madre!


    luciana onofre


  45. Thank you Monica for putting into words what I feel and know in my soul. I, too am a 'mindful' mummy. Reading your words makes me feel a little choked up because I finally feel understood. Someone out there understands me (you and all the other women who have commented here). I'm not alone in feeling this way, being this way. Wow! Love and light to you, beautiful mamma!

  46. I was so touched by this post that I blogged about it here (and linked back to you) http://passionatelylife.blogspot.com/2011/05/im-mindful-mother.html
    Thank you again <3

  47. I was a mindless mother. Now I'm a mindful grandmother. I'm glad to report that growth is possible and evolution (or extinction) inevitable. I love what you have to say Mon and enjoy your list of characteristics for both Mindful parenting and Authentic self. This characteristic is my favourite "I respect everyone, I help many, I nurture some, I please myself" as a consumate people pleasure, this one has been the most challenging to learn, to remember and to embody. Thanks for the post Monica and the vibrant, interesting discussion everyone.

  48. Love love love this. Love you for your words and being you.

  49. Finding who You are and what Mama You want to be
    brings you closer to helping you child find
    who she is.
    In my mind and life.


  50. Oh, this is sooo me. My heart skipped a beat and my soul sang its song when I read this. I come from a small conservative North Georgia town, where my husband and I are the token "tree huggers" We don't mind, but don't have any friends outside of our family. We are very picky about who we share our energy with and our children are exposed to. I started blogging in hopes of finding other like minded mamas and enlist some support. I am not sure how to navigate the blogging world but hope to grow.
    love and light and much gratitude

  51. THANK YOU. so much. I am #2 and #3. Not a natural mother at all. How can I add myself to this list?

  52. you just did. welcome!

  53. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I was reading about myself when I opened this up :)

  54. I would love to followo your blog, but I can't find a follow me button. So, I'll add you to my faves and check back often. Wonderful blog.


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