Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Earth Mother Meltdown

Earth Mother Meltdown
5 February 2014

The whole Earth Mother thing is a bit of a grey area for me.  Exactly what do Earth Mother duties encompass?  How natural is natural really?

Does it mean loving unconditionally, and without prejudice?  And having a heart that is willing to take on more and more kids – not just your own, but others as well?  Does it mean a holistic approach to raising kids?  Does it mean no smacking?  Does it mean home-grown this and free-range that?  Does it mean wearing tie-dye and having long flowing hair?  Does it mean washing and bathing in mountain streams and using olive oil for simply everything from body lotion to cooking?  Does it mean wheat free and gluten free?  Does it mean vegan?  Does it mean, saying to your kids calmly, “Leaf, Mommy doesn’t like it when you use your angry voice.  Rather find your inner centre and speak from a place of healing”, as opposed to saying, “Luke if you speak to me like that again, I will cut you”?  Does it mean incense and transcendental meditation?  Does it mean spiritual and emotional growth for you and your child at the exact same harmonious moment?

I really don’t quite get it.

Perhaps it’s rather a feeling of parenting with love.  Of putting your child’s best interests first.  Of making this whole parenting thing look fairly easy. 

Either which way, my perception of being an Earth Mother is hazy.  Apart from the pretty clear conviction that I don’t qualify, even remotely, to be one.

However, if it means loving your kids.  Then I’ve got that bit down pat.

Anyway, so the crux of my story is this – Earth Mothers can be a bit condescending of us mere mortal types.  The way they’re quickly able to whip up a three course meal, whilst juggling four kids, two still in nappies and another three over for a playdate.  All this whilst hand-washing their perfectly bleached pristine white linens, throwing together a gorgeous flower arrangements and doing a quick batch of home-made play dough for their youngest, while at the same time making ice lollies from freshly squeezed oranges, from their own garden.  You get the point.

So a friend of mine has a friend.  In fact she has many.  The friend’s friend, is a career woman of note.  A medical doctor, with a passion for her field.  So passionate that she has made a career out of specialising and continuing her studies.  Having a deep seated desire for more and more knowledge, in her quest to help more and more people.  The doctor friend, also happens to be a mom, who loves her kids dearly.  Ironically, she is NOT an Earth Mother.  However, she is a mother who deeply loves her kids.  Yet still manages to have an exciting, thriving career of her own.  It is awesome and she is completely and utterly fulfilled.  And her life is good.  Busy, but good.

Her sister on the other hand, is the original Earth Mother.  The one we’ve all heard about.  Perfect mom.  Selflessly dedicated to her kids.  And it’s awesome, as she is also completely and utterly fulfilled.  And her life is also good.  Busy, but good.

Yet somehow, for all of her Earth Mother goodness, she is very critical of her sister’s need for a very demanding career.  And often vocally admonishes her sister for her choices.  But here’s the thing – she got to make her choices.  And her sister made hers. 

You know what happens next right?  Earth Mother gets bitten on the bum. 

Whilst the two families were together one fine day, Earth Mother’s five year old child, was particularly badly behaved.  I’m not sure that Earth Mother’s child knew, that he wasn’t supposed to be.  Possibly he didn’t get the memo.  And so Earth Mother said loudly, so that all could hear, “If you do that again, I will put you in the hall cupboard for two minutes”.  Yes – very Earth Mother.

Once again, we know what happens next right?  Earth Mother’s child didn’t get the memo that he was supposed to be perfect.  He misbehaved once more.  And thus, in a grand show of consistent disciplining, to a great audience, Earth Mother whisked her child off, admonished him loudly, and put him in the dark hall cupboard, with strict instructions to stay there until she opened the door.

I would imagine that everyone was sufficiently traumatised.  More than likely horrified.

By all accounts the howling was ear deafening.  Carrying on and on and on. 

I’d like to think that even Earth Mother, despite her anger, felt at least some remorse, while all this was carrying on.  But to great fanfare, she had drawn a line in the sand.  And if she was going to have any Earth Mother clout after this, she simply had to stick it out.

And then the allotted time, was finally finished.  To great relief of all, Earth Mother finally opened the hall cupboard.

To discover, that in her anger and desire to show to all how very Earth Mother she was, she had slammed her little boy’s fingers in the doorjamb. 

And not realising that his cries were cries of pain, and not anger and humiliation at being disciplined, had left him there, with the door firmly closed.  On his poor little fingers.

I do believe she has never lived it down.  Many years have passed, yet the memory still lingers.

It was apparently very humbling for her.  An eye opener.  And after that day, she found greater tolerance for her career driven sister.  Spending less time, admonishing her for her mistakes, and more time accepting her for the awesome mother she was.

Karma has a wicked sense of humour.

PS:  Though I don’t know for sure, I would like to imagine that the little boy recovered quickly.  That his mom gave him loads and loads of cuddles and kisses.  And possibly heaps and heaps of ice cream too.  Chances are, it was even shop bought.

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  1. We so often eat that humble pie!
    I suspect the answer as always lives somewhere in between!

  2. The Universe likes to keep us in our place....... whether we like it or not!