The Voice

A few weeks ago I spent some time with a mom who was trying to resolve a particular challenge with her child.  She was a fabulous mom. She was engaged, tuned in, and completely dedicated to helping her child move through the issue.  She had done a tireless amount of research. She talked to experts.  She read all the books. She had exhausted every means to reach a solution.

It was during our conversation when she mentioned to me something a particular book had recommended.  ” I stopped doing that though,” she said.  “It just didn’t feel right.” It was in that moment that I knew exactly what had happened, and only because I was an outsider, only because I was able to be objective.  When it’s your own child that becomes so much more difficult. She had lost touch with one of the most powerful gifts of motherhood.  She had lost her voice. There was so much “noise” around her from the research, the books, and the experts that she had lost the sound that was the key to it all: her own thoughts, her own gut feelings, her own voice. This is the force that drives us through motherhood.  It is innate, and it is gifted to all of us both as a means of survival and also as kind of a Holy Grail.  However, it is so very easy for this voice to become drowned out by life and its books, experts, research, Facebook and Instagram posts, and the well-meaning friends and family around us who think they have all the answers. When we can’t hear this voice anymore, then we get lost.  That’s when things start to get really difficult.

“Stop reading.” I told her. “It’s time to put the books away, and start listening to your own voice. You are a great mom, and you can help him through this.” She looked at me with tears in her eyes, and said “Thank you. No one ever tells me that.”

Isn’t that the truth?! We don’t hear that enough if ever.  It was in that moment though that I could offer a hand and a piece of my heart, from one mother to another.  It was a powerful reminder to me as well.  As mothers, we are strong and wise.  We are intuitive, and we are protective. Yet, we hardly take the opportunity to recognize those gifts.  We rarely give ourselves any credit or trust in our own abilities.  This is the key to success though.  We have to tune in; we have to trust.  Experts, books, and research most certainly have their place in this journey, and we should absolutely utilize those resources.  However, during that process we must also wrap our arms around our voice and protect it, so that it may be a part of what guides us to a solution.

When I was pregnant with M, the parents in my 1st grade class compiled a book full of advice from all of the other mothers.  To this day, this particular card was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received:

“My best advice on babies and children is to NOT READ anything! Mothering has been around for a long time and your instincts are best to follow.” 

Listen up and listen in.  Oh, and you are doing a great job as a mom.

Find the joy,