We Can Mother Ourselves

Dear Friends,

As the holidays approach and many of us are celebrating, some are feeling sorry for themselves because their mother is gone while others are feeling sad because they are not mothers.

Not all of us are mothers, but we have all been mothered by someone. That mother could have been a father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, next door neighbor, your sister or brother or in some cases a foster parent or a teacher. Somebody took care of you or you would not be here.

Whoever it was that mothered you; helped to mold you to who you are today. I am thankful for all the mothering that I received or did not receive. As children, my sister Paddi and I took over a mothering role at an early age. We were very blessed to have a grandmother who taught us by her example.

Granny was born organized. As a result she couldn’t sit still. She was always puttering. Some people are just like this. We sidetracked people have had born organized people in our lives. This is not a bad thing or a good thing, but it can be either.

Some puttering comes from not ever thinking that anything is clean enough. Does that sound like perfectionism to you? When this kind of puttering is partnered with mothering the result could be a child that is not prepared for adulthood. The child is not ever expected to clean. Mainly because it is already done; the born organized person just does it without even thinking about it. It just gets done and they don’t even realize it that they are doing it. It is hard for them to teach puttering because it comes naturally to them. It is just easier for them to do it than to fuss about it not being done. But this is not a conscious thought on their part. Our Granny was like this! There is not a mean bone in her body. She was just born organized. I had never heard her complain about anything; even though she was a worry wart.

Our mother was not prepared for adulthood; she needed someone to take care of her. Paddi and I became our mother’s mother even though we didn’t know how to do this. Granny taught us how to clean. She showed us how by her example; how to shine our sinks, sew, lay out our clothes, clean as we go when we cook, wash day, errand day and many other things. We hear her voice in our minds and in our writing: Pretty is as pretty does, Can’t never could do anything, If you do right God will take care of you. and a place for everything and everything in its place. But it is her actions that speak loudest to us and it was probably only this week that we realized what an influence those actions have had in our lives.

Mother could not help that she was not prepared; Granny didn’t even realize that her daughter was not prepared to be an adult. When she remembered mother’s childhood; granny thought that she spoiled her; but she didn’t; she just did what came naturally to her and in turn our mother didn’t have to do anything. Granny didn’t stand over her daughter and tell her to do it again because it was not done right. I doubt she ever even asked her to help. Now on the other hand; mother did have perfectionism in her personality too. But she was a SHE! Her perfectionism paralyzed her. So she would do nothing until everything got to so bad or Granny was coming. At a very early age Paddi and I became responsible for the kitchen, bathroom, living room, laundry, our room, and the yard. We don’t really remember playing as children; we remember being mothers. But we were not mothers; we were caretakers. We didn’t know how to mother we just knew how to clean, cook, do laundry and fix things. Granny was our example.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am very thankful for the Born Organized people in my life. My sister Paddi is Born Organized and patient with me. I was not born organized but Granny and Paddi have helped me to learn how to be organized by their example. I have deciphered their actions into instructions that help us all to implement their naturally tendencies into routines that get rid of the CHAOS in our lives.

Many years ago Pam and Peggy told me to surround myself with born organized people. I have done this and it is the born organized people who can implement all the things we come up with. Justin laughed one day and said it takes Paddi and I two years to complete all that you can come up with in five minutes. This is funny to us.

It takes all of us to make the world go round. Without creative people coming up with ideas and born organized people taking care of the details; just where would we be? We have to realize our talents and accept our limitations. Most creative people get bored easily; our minds don’t stop; we jump from one thing to the next. Now don’t ever forget that we are just as much a perfectionist as a born organized person; the only difference is we want to see it finished NOW when we come up with the idea. We don’t know how to break an idea into babysteps. Born Organized people can see and do all the steps without skipping to the end. We just want to see the results. The Born Organized person just does it naturally without even knowing how they do it.

My sister Paddi through her patience and love has never beaten me up because I am not like her. She too celebrates my SHEness and sees the talents that I have and helps me with my limitations. I have learned to ask for help instead of throwing my idea away because I didn’t know how to make it happen or to stay on track with a plan.

None of us would be who we are without the mothering that helped us along the way. We are all mothers by our example. Our actions teach louder than words. We cannot allow our perfectionism to disable the children of the world. Be thankful for the people who mothered you.

My husband has been a great example for me too. But isn’t it usual that you marry your opposite. We have many things that we love together but he is more toward the born organized side than I am. He too respects my talents as I do his. Here is the funny part of our relationship. I am a pretty well rounded person in my own right and so is he. You could say that we are whole people. We were taught that two people become one in marriage. I never really knew what that meant until we married. Together we complete each other. This is not to say that we can’t do by ourselves; because we have and could do it again if we had to; but we complement each other in a loving way. Where my talents are lacking; Robert can help me. That is if I ask him. He would never assume that I could not do, but I have to ask. Now it still upsets me that I can’t do something, but I have learned not to beat myself up about it or not get mad at him because he can and I can’t. I accept his help with the love that it is given. It is not a competition to be better than me; he just complements me and it is such a blessing to have two great minds working together to solve a problem in a loving way! He is not telling me what to do; or that I am doing it wrong. But this is because I have learned that I don’t have to be perfect! I can ask for help! Imagine that! I don’t have to do everything!

This was a big step for me! I quit beating myself up over not being perfect and let go of my pride to say please I have a problem and need your advice. He has also given me permission to not take his advice, but I get to ask anyway. He would never give me unsolicited advice or in some words tell me what to do or infer that I was doing it wrong or that he was smarter than me. I know that I am smart too, but I don’t beat myself up because I don’t know everything. I know enough to know that I need help. That is a blessing to me. I have let go of my perfectionism and have allowed blessings to fill my life! It was only after I released my perfectionism and started to finally love myself that I found my true calling in life.

We all mother; that is not to diminish the role that our mothers had in our lives but it is to reinforce that others are watching and learning from our actions. Please don’t allow your perfectionism to have a negative impact on the people around you. Now this is going to be confusing. Maybe there is no negative or positive impact. Maybe it is just a balance in all things; firmness and spoiling. Maybe it is just love! Loving is the action that makes good motherers out of us all. It all starts with loving ourselves enough to realize that we don’t have to be perfect.

We have an opportunity to mother ourselves and leave a legacy of love for our families. It doesn’t matter if you had a wonderful mother or if your mother was just trying to survive like ours. We can mother ourselves.

Are you ready to FLY and celebrate the mothers who made us who we are and Mother ourselves?

FlyLady

P.S. I have an assignment for you. Don’t wait for the holidays ┬áto thank the people in your life who have molded you and the ones who mother you now. Every month on the 15th for the next year; I want you to send a note to one of these people. Get out your calendar and mark this down. This way you won’t forget to let them know how much you appreciate what they did or still do for you!

Don’t feel sorry for yourself if your mother is no longer here. Pick someone at church or in your neighborhood who needs a kind word. It does not have to be perfect. This is just another way to Pay It Forward! Isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

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