Determination, Resilient, Endurance, Tough, Fortitude, Pluck, Spunk, Fearlessness, Courageous.
Who has it? We, at gritMAMA, believe Mothers have grit. We own it. Mothers have passion and
perseverance. We get up every day to take on the complexities and challenges as well as the joys of
Motherhood. This is not to say that Mamas are perfect or don’t stumble, quite the contrary; Mothering is the messy art of doing your best with the physical, emotional and mental resources you have available any given day for yourself/your children/your family/your job/your parents/your pets/your home, coordinating your kids activities and hobbies/the family calendar/being nurturer/disciplinarian/consoler/confronter/confidant/nurse and biggest cheerleader……and the list goes on……..and this basically only scratches the surface of the gritty job of MAMA.
We rock it some days, foil others and keep comin back for more, over and over and over again. It’s the days of empty threats, bribery or when the tv babysitter comes by and stays much longer than anticipated (and we finally get some SILENCE!) when we may judge or shame ourselves, or when we act out in our fear or anger, reacting to life or loves in a way that does not reflect our true character, values or intentions……it’s these days when we access the depths of our grit to come back for more, through the locked bathroom or closet door and much needed cry, through driving around for an extra 30 minutes to avoid having to manage the children once they are free from restraints in the backseat, and through ignoring the extra hours the older kids are on their phones or video games because dammit! the silence is quite honestly……worth it. It’s those moments (or
hours) of GRACE when our stored resources of energy emerge and our grit emerges once again……the tears dry, the tv goes off or we park the car and we keep on going…..
How do we do it, you ask?
That, my friend, is true grit.
Mama, Mother, Mom, Mommy, Ma, Mum, Momma.
I am humbled and honored to be included in this tribe. We come in a multitude of shapes, colors, sizes and ages. We may be the sole care provider or share the childcare role with others to varying degrees. We may be in committed relationships or single by choice or consequence. We may work inside or outside of the home. We may have birthed our children, been blessed with them through many other ways. We may co-sleep or they may sleep separately. We may have a rainbow baby, coming to us through the trauma of loss. We may pump, breastfeed or bottle feed our children. We may wear them on our bodies or have them next to us. We may enroll our children in private or public schools or we may school them at home. The choices continue around media use, where we live to raise our families, how busy we keep them, when/if we choose to enroll them in organized sports, how we discipline, nurture and feed our kids to name only a few……..and our choices in any/all of these areas can change as we continue along our journey as Mamas, learning and honoring what feels right and authentic to us, our children and our families. We are evolving, always.
The Mama I am today looks, in several ways, different than the one I was when I became a Mother 15 years ago – I have two more children, I am 15 years older, been through more life, loss, joy, playdates, tantrums, adolescent negotiations, Mommy groups and identify shifts through the years– bringing me to a place where I have an intensified passion for supporting, connecting, bolstering and gathering Mamas together in the name of community, togetherness, inclusion, hope and GRACE.
GRACE for our journeys as women into Mamas, GRACE for the indescribable blessing and awe as well as the loss associated with becoming a Mama (but we don’t talk about the latter nearly enough), GRACE for how humbling (and important!) it can be when we realize we are Mothering a certain way to please others and not following our gut or what we feel intuitively is best for our child, GRACE for all of the mistakes, emotional decisions, outbursts, arguments and all around flubs of Mothering, GRACE for the unconscious modeling we are displaying for our children….this is what it’s like to be human….and a Mama – it’s all grist for the mill. Every “mis-step” or “mis-take” in Motherhood or in life has meaning for us, because without the mistakes we will not know to
acknowledge the successes, you all know them – the moments when you sigh and give yourself a symbolic highfive when the stars align and either your kids actually listen to you, are kind to each other, show kindness to others, exhibit integrity or you hear someone compliment their character – those moments need to be truly felt and acknowledged. Goodness knows we let the disappointment and Mama guilt in – we MUST allow the joy-filled pat on the back as well.
We extend GRACE to others, it’s time we extend it to ourselves.
We see you.
We ARE you.
Melanie E. Flint, LCSW, CGP, EAP
Founder & Clinical Director, JEM Wellness & Counseling Services, PLLC