Happy Mother's Day


It is Mother's Day this weekend in Australia. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. I send you lots of love and acknowledgement. Motherhood is hard work and showing up with loving care for our children everyday deserves respect and admiration, every day! Mothers day is often a gorgeous day of connection and appreciation and fun. But it can also be a day of thwarted expectations, big feelings and lots of disappointment. 

I believe that mothers deserve acknowledgment for all that they are doing every day. As I often say, we were not designed to do this in nuclear families. Our evolutionary process meant that for hundreds of thousands of years, humans have lived in communities and tribes where the work of parenthood was shared. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins and other close females worked together to raise children. Birthing women were cared for and supported, with people tending to their older children as they prepared to birth and while they were caring for their newborns. Babies were breastfed and looked after by many women at the same time. Toddlers were played with by older children and looked after by all the women. Older children were guided in life by all the adults in the community. The other relentless work of mothers was also shared - laundry, making food, caring for our homes was all done communally with camaraderie and support. I recently learnt that in most human communities, every adult was part of group of 40 people all working together to support each other. Many mothers in our modern world are doing all the work entirely alone, or with the support of just 1 other person.

Of course motherhood is hard. We did not evolve to do this in nuclear families, alone and unsupported, having to go out to earn money and have our children in day care, with our older children away at school all day, while we have to work. We were not designed as humans to have to perform all the roles on our own, to undertake the never ending demands of daily life without help, with no one to talk to or share it with. We were not designed to live disconnected from each other, from our food, from our communities and tribes, or from our natural ways of living. And now we also have to juggle all the other stresses, strains and demands of living in our modern world in these current times, often in chronic states of stress, hyper-arousal and dissociation in order to survive.

It is completely normal that so many of us feel exhausted, burnt out, overwhelmed, yearning to be supported in motherhood, to be deeply connected to each other and to be living in communities raising our children, to be able to ask for and receive support, empathy and connection. So many of us have chronically unmet needs, no space to share our feelings and are trying to parent our children with awareness and connection whilst also re-parenting ourselves.

I send so much love to all of us, raising our children in such a different way, yearning for more support and connection and having to do it all alone. And I send love and compassion for all the times it feels bloody hard - of course it does! 

So I offer you an invitation in the run up to this one day of the year to celebrate mothers, which often feels like a commercialised gesture, to find ways to make it feel like a beautiful day for us - to reflect on what you want for the day? How do you want to spend the day? What are your needs for the day? What would help you to really feel that you are honouring your own needs?

Sometimes these can be really hard questions to answer. But this is such a crucial aspect of Aware Parenting. Taking care of ourselves is central to Aware Parenting and many of us need to re-learn how to ask for and receive support, and how to explore what our needs are. 

We often need support to work out what our unmet needs are and we need help to find ways to meet those that are not being met. Most of us as children did not get to express our needs, or to have them valued and met so many of us had to disconnect from them, and to feel like our needs didn’t matter. So many of us grew up to be adults who really don't know what our needs are. So often in sessions when I talk to mothers and ask them about their unmet needs, they cannot say and I really understand that coz I was the same. I had no idea what my needs were or whether I had unmet needs and I gave zero time or energy or reflection space to this. 

And I just want to acknowledge again the hugeness of raising our children with AwP whilst also tending to our younger parts that come up again and again for healing. To be parenting children whilst also re-parenting ourselves, is the hardest job. So it's inevitable that we will all have times where it all feels too much, and often mothers day is a perfect moment for all the big feelings to come to the surface. 

And we know that parents cannot give from an empty cup. We cannot be compassionate, connected and loving to our children if we feel overwhelmed, resentful and exhausted. And a really helpful reflection for those of us who have daughters is "what do we want for them when they are mothers?" Do we want them to feel overwhelmed and exhausted, disconnected from themselves with many unmet needs or do we want to start to model to them that we are learning to tune in to what we need as mothers and find small ways to meet our needs. 

So can you reach out for support, can you offer yourself compassion, can you acknowledge how hard it is to be raising your children in your nuclear family without the support you need? Can you find ways to support yourself as best you can, on Mother's Day and on every other day too? Can you give yourself permission to care for yourself, can you take time to do things you love, to laugh, to cry, to spend time in nature, to meet your needs for connection, for autonomy and choice, for rest in whatever small ways you can? And if you are struggling to even be aware of what your needs might be, the Needs Inventory on the Centre for Non-Violent Communication website is really helpful to explore. When I started to read that list, I didn't even know that some of these were basic human needs that I had never had met. 

Aware Parenting recognises the importance of everyone’s needs being met and when we find ways to take care of us, we have more capacity to take care of our children. And when we take time to reflect on what we really want for Mother's Day, we can make it a day that is truly lovely for us all. Often there is pain in the day too and if we have space and support, releasing and healing that pain can also be a beautiful part of the day. So perhaps the day is bringing up stuff around our relationship with our mothers. Perhaps our mother is not well or is no longer with us so we might have big feelings coming up around mothers day. Maybe you are a single parent, navigating all the work of parenthood alone so this day might bring up lots of big feelings for you. Maybe you have lost a child and so the day is also full of deep grief and sadness. Maybe it's a time of reflection and you are feeling that your family life is not what you imagined and hoped it would be so the prospect of Mother's Day is full of sadness. Maybe you are comparing your life with other families that seem to have it all together and be "perfect" and that is deeply painful on Mother's Day.

Whatever is going on in your family I am sending you so much love and inviting you to check in with yourself and reflect, to offer yourself deep compassion and appreciation and acknowledgement for everything you are navigating, to connect with another mother who is also on this journey, raising their children with Awareness and connection whilst also re-parenting their inner child, someone else who gets this and can hold space for you to share your thoughts, struggles, worries and deep pain without judgement.

Let’s keep supporting each other, building community in any ways we can and offering each other empathy and understanding. If you want more help and support, I am here.  I am wishing you a beautiful Mother's Day and I send you so much love. 

Your parenting coach and mentor

About Joss Goulden

I am a trauma-informed Parenting Coach and a Level 2 Aware Parenting instructor, certified with the Aware Parenting Institute. I have been practising Aware Parenting for 17 years and am the mother of 2 children, aged 19 and 17.

I am also passionate about Homeschooling and Natural Learning. I have homeschooled my 2 children and I have been supporting families with Homeschooling and Natural Learning for many years.

Aware Parenting with Joss

I am so passionate about sharing this beautiful approach with parents. I believe that Aware Parenting is THE solution for so many of the challenges facing the world. - Joss Goulden, Aware Parenting Instructor
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