Monthly Archives: May 2017

Mother’s Day: Reflections on an Archetype

I just deleted a litany of reasons “Mother’s Day” is problematic.

Instead, I would rather take us on a journey, a rabbit hole, of archetypes, and, specifically, the archetype of The Mother.

A quick one sentence “what is she talking about” explanation: Carl Jung, an early psychologist, believed that all humankind shared a “collective unconscious” aka ideas we are born with about a person or role that is found across all cultures and languages.

The Mother is an archetype (there are several). Regardless of your feelings on the collective unconscious, or psychology in general, it is inarguable that throughout recorded history, as well as in prehistoric times, across diverse cultures,  a “mother” role with remarkably similar duties and attributes is identifiable. Similarly, diverse spiritual and religious practices recognize a “mother” role.

Words emerge that describe this “mother” role: nurturing, present, attentive, caring, persistent- also stubborn, wrathful.

Throughout mythology, and modern spiritual and religious traditions, the “mother” is fertility, newness, growth- and also incomparable destruction.

Stepping backwards from the Mother’s Day cards, brunches, gifts; from problematic stereotypes, assumptions, political correctness and commercialism- the purpose of a “Mother’s Day” becomes, to me, clearer. To look within ourselves, and in our own circle of loved ones, to acknowledge these traits and characteristics holistically- is valuable.

Happy Mother’s Day.

 

 

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Today I was That Mom.

I know what you are thinking. Which mom? “Mom types” are such a thing these days. There are videos and memes and articles.

But this is the thing.

Today I was that myth-perpetuating mom. I was the mom sitting at Panera with my well-behaved child eating salad in my maxi dress and cute wedges. I was that mom who wasn’t at work, taking her child out for lunch in the middle of the day.

Think of all the subliminal messaging this can send. This mom has money (out to lunch) and know-how (child eating peacefully) and self-restraint (eating a salad at a place with cookies and pastries).

When you are a mom, especially a new mom dealing with a postpartum emotional complication, you see me and think, “Everyone has it together but me.”

But see, here is the deal: Today, it looked like I had it together. Today, at lunchtime, I did. Sort of. And today, I was together enough to look around myself and remember what my brain tells me on the day I do NOT have it together.

When you see that “together” mom, you are only seeing one part of one day. No one looking at me knew that usually, on Mondays, I don’t change out of my pajamas. That I was eating a salad because I spent the entire weekend eating tater tots with Velveeta. That I was taking my child out for lunch because I didn’t have any snacks packed because I had cleaned out my car, which included scraping melted peanut butter cups off the floor (thanks, Easter Bunny.) That when I got the total at the cash register I nearly fainted. That I was out with my child in the middle of the day because I work a weird schedule to minimize the child care costs we have, and so literally everything I do, I do with my three year old. That when she gets frustrated her new thing is throwing objects every which way. That a successful med change about a year ago is what has made any of this even remotely possible.

I’m telling you this because YOU are, for one part of one day, “that mom” to another person out there. That when we see you with three kids all holding grocery bags standing together quietly, or your picture on Facebook of everyone at the playground, or your baby wearing a seasonally themed outfit at the drugstore sleeping quietly in their carseat, we think, “wow, she has it all together.”

Revel in the together moments. Save them in your head so that when you have moments like my car ride home today (the exact same day I was “that mom” in Panera) and my child was screaming because of a schedule change, you can float them through your brain. Instead of comparing yourself to those around you, remind yourself, “I have it together, too.”

 

 

 

 

 

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