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A Word about Motherhood
The greatest love is a mother's, then a dog's then a sweetheart's.
The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
The foundations of eternity are laid in the nursery. —WK
Before I had children, I had six theories on how they should be raised. Now I have five children and no theories.
—Ronald Kelly, minister, father
The very word "motherhood" conjures up a thousand pictures in our heads. The famous portraits of Mother and Child, the ideals we had for our children when they were small, the plans we made for our beloved child when we were pregnant, even sometimes ideas we had about what motherhood would be like from the vantage point of our teenage years.
Some of us swore we'd do it differently than our mothers had, and others wanted to be similar in our style. Some of us wished to marry and have babies when we were grown ups, and others wanted to postpone babies, maybe indefinitely, while we cured cancer or made millions or showed men how powerful we really are.
Our attitudes about motherhood change as we have children and with the circumstances of their births and lives. You may be finding that the ideal life you'd planned to provide your child is a little harder to provide than you'd hoped, or even that the childyou got isn't quite the child you expected. You may find, like most of us do, that motherhood and parenthood in general are experiences beyond description, so much better and so very different than anything you'd planned on.
Motherhood is mysterious, magical, a whirl of drudgery and joy, carpools and kid caresses, sleepless nights and peak moments, the greatest joys, and the deepest sorrows. It is every emotion in the spectrum and every thought of selfless love that ever existed in the universe. Some say it is the closest thing to pure love that exists on Earth.
But isn't it funny how life turns out? I wanted a ballerina and I got a tomboy. Megan up the block was sure she'd get a singer, and instead she got a budding actor with almost no musical skills. Barry's son was supposed to follow Dad into the law. At twenty-seven, he shows no signs of following. They're their own little people, aren't they? So what does that make our job?
Remember when your mother wished on you a child just like yourself? Maybe you got that kid, and maybe not, and maybe that was a blessing from your mom, but maybe it was a curse. Either way, here you are, in the circumstances of your life as it is today. Here you are with your kid(s) in your house with your job and your life, and if you are doing this alt alone, then it is all up to you.
Like everything else, that's a blessing and a curse. You have the liberty to craft the mind, heart, self-esteem, and virtues of the child entrusted to your care. You also have all the responsibility to provide structure, discipline, meals, clothes, a roof, and a warm bed for this little person.
When life doesn't match your expectations, when the "Happily Ever After" ends and the next chapter of your life begins, it's easy to forget the most important things. It's easy to forget there is joy in the simple fact that you are alive and you have a good mind. It's possible to forget for a moment that you are in control of your circumstances and that at any point you can create a whole new kind of tomorrow for your family. In any moment, there are things to be sad about and things to rejoice about. Your quality of life will be enhanced by remembering to celebrate the joys of single motherhood and soaring above it on the wings of your sometimes-angelic children.
Motherhood is a brief and precious time in our lives. Ask any woman, married or single, who has raised a family and watched each child fly the nest. She'll tell you it doesn't really last long, it just seems like it when you can't sleep through the night that first year, or when you and your child wage daily skirmishes. The period from birth to college or their first apartment seems like a long time, but in retrospect went like a flash. This little human being we've been given, with all her or his uniqueness, perfections, and imperfections, is ours to hold, ours to mold, for such a little while. Cherish that time!
You've heard "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world." Your child's destiny is in your power. Will you craft a neurotic little being who is a tyrant over the other people in his life? Will you indulge a spoiled child who grows up to embarrass you? Or will you set the plan, stay the course, be there with an open heart and open arms, nurturing, supporting, and loving this person who has been given into your care?
The time when we have influence over our children is terribly short. It's a solar flare on the timescape of our existence. The foundations of eternity are laid in the nursery. The kind of mother you are capable of being at your best is precisely the kind of mother your child needs. Here's to you, for caring enough to be the very best.
Excerpted from Soaring Solo by Wendy Keller. Copyright © 2001 by Wendy Keller. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
|A Word about Motherhood||10|
|It's a Dog's Life||14|
|Tiffany's Mother's Box of Love||18|
|The Amazing Mrs. Kenna||24|
|Motivating the Troops||27|
|Teetering on the Totter||37|
|Penelope and the Guilt-O-Meter||44|
|Am I Doing This Right?||47|
|Green Rivers of Cash||51|
|Mrs. Potash, The Martyr of Maryland||56|
|The Power of One||59|
|For the Love of Money||66|
|Rocks for Sale||69|
|The Surprising Return||72|
|Knocking Up Opportunity||79|
|Dark Night of the Soul||82|
|Cash onthe Barrel Head||86|
|The Road to Truth||89|
|A Blizzard of Bliss||92|
|Instant Parenting: Just Add Water||94|
|One Who Kisses||103|
|I'll Leave the Light On for Ya||112|
|Time to Fly||115|
|The Wedding Dress||118|
|Crying in the Dark||121|
|The Hamster of Happiness||126|
|Finding Your Creative Spirit||132|
|Loving Your Body||135|
|Just Say No in Minneapolis||138|
|Less Is More Toast||141|
|Flow, Names that Cannot Be Pronounced Easily, and Doing|
|Things You Hate To Do||151|
|Good-Bye, Happily Ever After||158|
|One More Push||161|
|Starting Over, Again||167|
|Sleep Softly and Carry a Big Stick||176|
|Boarding School Blues||180|
|Tick, Tock, Biological Clock||183|
|I Like Myself! I Like Myself!||185|
|Dealing with Dear Old Dad||191|
|If It Ain't Dirty, Don't Wash It||194|
|Girls Just Wanna Have Fun||197|
|Me and the Boyz||199|
|A Little Bit of Sunshine||202|
|On Living Single||210|
|Flab, Stretch Marks, and Me||214|
|The Sky's The Limit!||218|
|A Note from the Author||223|
|About the Author||223|
|About the Press||224|