Dandelions. Why are they so beautiful to me? Even though they are weeds, those fluffy white tufts entertain children and adults alike. And their symbolism is powerful: they are a weed that will either dance on the wind or struggle against the wind and refuse to let go of their stem.
I have blown a dandelion or two myself over the years. And recently I have been amazed by how the tufts don’t choose which direction they would go. They are blown from a force that is not their own, and the wind carries them to their destination.
In mothering, I, too, have been blown many directions on winds I didn’t choose for myself. I wasn’t born with a mothering spirit. And I didn’t grow up imagining future children or names or nursery themes. When I became a mother, I had a hard time finding myself in motherhood. I loved my sweet, red-headed girl with the chubbiest cheeks known to man. I never knew what joy a baby could bring. However, I was still in shock. I hadn’t realized the work that motherhood would require: the constant needs, exhaustion, frustration, and love.
Like a dandelion, I was desperately holding on to my stem–my comfortable and easy life–while being blown about forcefully by the wind. Yes, it was a wind of my choice–I chose to have a baby and to take on the mothering responsibilities–but the direction of the wind was different than I expected.
I eventually learned I could choose how I reacted to the forces of the wind. If the wind pushed me to the ground, I could choose to persevere and hold on through difficult times. If the wind raised me to the sky, I could enjoy the ride and know that this happy time in my mothering would be a great reprieve from other troubles and difficult stages.
Now, eight years later, I have three other children. And they have given me more love, understanding, forgiveness, and patience than I ever thought possible. They have taught me to slow down, to love without expectation, to teach, and to grow.
I have been through the trenches of three little ones at home, and now I’m in the stage of some in school and some at home. So, the direction of the wind has changed a bit for me. I still get tired and grumpy and lose my patience some days, but my understanding of motherhood has changed. I now control how I feel about motherhood.
When I started to look at motherhood as a blessing, instead of a burden forced upon me, it became a major growing point for me. I am now trying to let go of my preconceived notions of how motherhood should be, and I am trying to make it what I want it to be. The wind can push me and pull me, but I alone choose how I will react to the wind.
QUESTION: Do certain objects or experiences in nature give you strength in motherhood or serve as metaphors for your feelings?
CHALLENGE: Rethink some of your preconceived notions of motherhood and instead look at your own traits and talents and how those can help you be a better mother.
Image from Shutterstock with graphics by Julie Finlayson.