Mothering Mondays: Starting In The Embers With The Motherhood Project

Lovely little tiny green things growing in a seemingly inhospitable space. Taken by my eldest child.
Lovely little tiny green things growing in a seemingly inhospitable space. Taken by my eldest child.

In an attempt to better understand what it is I am doing, I have been wanting to dedicate some time to writing about parenting, but you know… writing vs doing. Well, Ke’lona Hamilton, the force behind the awesomeness that is Creative Motivations, has dedicated a snippet of everyday in 2014 (insha Allah) to creating a personal reflection centered on mothering. Ke’lona has invited others to join her in the Motherhood Project, where participants can create any form of writing, media or art on their own feelings around the subject, and she has fleshed out some pretty worthy areas to delve into: the good and bad, step-mothering, thoughts about her own mother and so on. I think I am going to go ahead and try to do this project too, at least on Mondays (when I eat meat, cuz someone else is around to do the cooking). Click these linkies to read more about the project and Ke’lona’s posts to date.

Here’s my first Mothering Mondays post:

Feeling Burnt

I told Ke’lona that I don’t exactly have shiny-happy feelings to write about mothering right now and she said something like that’s great, because the project is supposed to cover it all. So. My current stage of mothering feels something like that guy on YouTube stuck on a treadmill that just keeps going faster and faster, but he’s determined not to be violently thrown from the thing so he keeps running and running. He hollers a lot too, which is something else we have in common.

I have six kids, the first one is firmly rooted in the chemically-challenged throws of teenhood and the last is a couple months shy of her two years worth of breastfeeding. In May, if we live, I will have completed twelve years of breastfeeding. Remind me to award myself something spectacular since no other family member is yet at any stage to appreciate my accomplishment. Although I will likely get a little tiny bit more sleep, I’m not looking forward to weaning my baby who I am hoping will remain The Baby. As one friend always (painfully) reminds me, “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems.” And I sure am getting whiffs of that.

My kids are home-educated, which I would not trade for anything currently available on the market, and that means that I spend more than average time with them. Of course I know I am supposed to GET AWAY from them time to time, rejuvenate me and all that, but you know theory is one thing and escape capabilities are another. My working from home is a mixed blessing in that I am always here for my kids and I am always here for my kids. For the last year and a half my husband spends half his time with us here in the countryside and the other half in the city. There is no solution presenting itself to this… lifestyle we have carved out. It sucks. For me.

As I type this I think about all the great craft supplies we have that I don’t have time or energy to do with my kids, or the access to glorious hikes that I don’t have ti… and all the many, many parenting, mothering and pedagogy books, articles and resources I have imbibed yet find myself acting contrary to… And I know, I know that I have done so much for my children and blah, blah, blah… yet I am in that burnt out space that I hope is a sort of rocky bottom because I fear to think how this could get worse.

Sometimes I feel like I am being mocked. I thought that I was laying out a nice little plan and made adjustments when necessary, but right now I feel overextended, like I have adjusted too much and the gears can’t take the pressure.

Maybe next week I will feel shinier and share some of the solutions I am trying. Or maybe I’ll drag myself out for a walk and share a picture. At least my treadmill is… as wide as I can make it.

Thanks Ke’lona for inviting me along on the ride.

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One thought on “Mothering Mondays: Starting In The Embers With The Motherhood Project

  1. This is exactly what the #motherhoodproject is all about, sis. This work that we do is not the doting mother/peaceful infant image we see in oil paints, its not the sweet, sun-drenched joy that poets proclaim, or the perfect crafting afternoon of pinterest pins. This work is just that: work. Exhausting, unrelenting, usually underappreciated and always overwhelming: work. In a word: It sucks.

    I love your genuine honesty and frankness here. Burn out is not a one time thing, its not a sudden mental breakdown or a ‘OMG, mommy just snapped’ moment… burn out is built up to and goes on for years, its an inevitable, natural part of the process of mothering, esp for us moms of larger families and broader interests. (There’s a reason Paradise lies at our feet… no one else in their right mind would do this work!). And I don’t think there’s a mommy-gene; I dont think those of us who will admit the pain and struggle and misery are somehow less than that ‘soule’ mom you mentioned once before. We’re a few things: honest, with ourselves and with our audience; tired, I think some women’s stress threshold is just different… thats about as close to a mommy-gene as youll get, and realistic, liberated or fighting to liberate ourselves from the fetters of the ‘good mom myth’ We are pioneers in our honesty, sis. What youve said here today needed to be said.

    This is not to say motherhood is completely unrewarding and miserable… but in all honesty, its a good 35:65 split (joy:misery). I will someday (soon) title a post as ‘Why I Hate Being a Mother’ I suspect and perhaps we can purge a bit more (a lot more) in order to grow, inshaAllah.

    Thank you so much for sharing and participating in the project. I really look forward to Motherhood Mondays, be sure to share this in the forum once I put of the post/thread for today, insha’Allah!

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