Earlier this month, I had the honor to host/attend my first Mother's Blessing. It was a very special event and if you have never heard of one, I highly recommend you look them up! A Mother's Blessing or Blessingway is a ceremony/party held for a mother to be that celebrates her and the difficult transition she is facing into being the mother of a new little soul (even if it is the fourth or fifth little soul she has brought into the world). It differs from a baby shower in that the focus is on the challenges the mother faces in labor or in the weeks/months/years after the baby is born. The gifts guests bring are usually practical ones like frozen meals for the family or tokens for the mother to hold during labor or just when she needs strength. The women also make a plan to nurture the burgeoning family after it has been expanded. It's a chance for women to get together and build up the confidence and love a mother needs right before her newborn is born. Although I could go on about the amazingness of Mother's Blessings forever, I think I will save it for a future blog.
In the case of this Mother's Blessing, one of my favorite parts of the ceremony actually turned out to be the introductions. I had asked each of the guests to tell us who they were and tell a story about what the woman we were throwing the Mother's Blessing for meant to each of us. There were quite a few tears as we each told stories of how this amazing mother of (now) two also managed to inspire and help each of us. Although many of the guests didn't really know each other, none of us were surprised by how each of us felt about such a great friend and inspiring woman. However, the guest of honor seemed shocked. She kept exclaiming "What?" It was as if our amazing friend and mom-inspiration, Rachael, had no idea how motivating and invigorating she was not only to her own family, but to her friends as well. She did not know who she really was to the rest of the world!
This got me thinking. While moms are excellent at simultaneously seeing both the potential and the challenges of our children, I'm not sure we turn that double vision on ourselves enough. In our quests to be the best moms we can be and to reach our own ideals of what that should be, I don't think we pay enough attention to what we do impressively well for our friends, for our families (including extended families), and our communities. Too often, we seem to focus on our flaws. We berate ourselves for them, we attempt to forgive ourselves for them, we write about them, but we forget that for every flaw, we also have an inspirational skill inside of us.
So, I have a challenge for you today. Since it is so hard to remember to praise yourself, maybe you can praise a friend or a family member today instead. Let her know exactly what she means to you, just as she is (even if her day is not going perfectly) and what an amazing mother she is to you. Maybe if we all take turns mothering each other, we can each get better at mothering ourselves!
Thanks for reading,