The Narrative Of Motherhood; Letting Go Whilst Holding On

letting go while holding on to teensI’m living a contradiction as a Mother of teens; I’m letting go whilst holding on!

I know that I’m not getting the balance right because there are times when I’m holding on so tight that my children feel like a life line.

How do I even begin to let go?

Holding On

I’m holding on to the threads that I wove during my years as a Mummy. The long cuddles, the kissed fingers, the laughter and tears that have created a blanket of mothering spun from threads unique to me and my children.

As they enter the teenage years that fabric is worn thin; it’s been wrapped around their shoulders as they tossed and turned with fever, it’s cushioned them from hurtful words in the school yard and comforted them in the dark of a sleepless night.

These last few months have found me patching and repairing it, but the blanket is unravelling.  I’m desperately trying to hold it together, while my children are throwing it off, emerging from my maternal cloak of protection. Independent. Separate. Grown.

And in the silence that surrounds me, a question forms.

When did mothering become smothering?

My approach to mothering is fulfilling my need to nurture, hold and protect, but is it still serving the needs of my children?

Letting Go

My boys are becoming young men and their needs are changing.

This change was the prompt that began my blogging journey 12 months ago.

A year on and this journey has led to a defining moment.

The moment when my narrative of motherhood had to change, adapt and grow.

I need to write a new story.

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.

Viktor E. Frankl

Time is relentless, and the boys are growing up. I cannot change this.

What I can change is my myself.

Transformation

The ultimate culmination of growing up is the move from dependence to independence; the transition from relying on others to relying on yourself.

As a Mother I also need to make that transition.

I can’t continue to create a sense of self based on my children.

I want to grow with my children, in love, connection and independence.  This means discovering and re-forging my own identity outside of Mum, in much the same way that they need to find their identity outside of being my child.

I need to become independent of my children.

Who am I when I’m not Mum?

I’m really not sure yet, but I know I want to find out.

 

Plunge into Change

Follow my journey to discover an identity independent of Mum by opting-in below.

 

 

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13 comments

  1. Kirsten Toyne says:

    This is a wonderful post. I am sure it will resonate with so many mothers as it has me. We hand over so much of ourselves in the mothering process and we have a journey at the end to take in finding our own independence. I love how you relate their growing up to your own. I have felt that too. As they grow and stretch out so do we. I think it is nor about rediscovering ourselves but actually about finding out who we are now, with all our new insights and understandings and knowledge. Because motherhood does not leave us unchanged, it teaches us so much. Kirsten
    Kirsten Toyne recently posted…Express Yourself – The Summer Holiday Self Worth Challenge Part 7My Profile

    • Lisa says:

      I love your words Kirsten, ‘motherhood does not leave us unchanged.’ I have always felt that motherhood has enriched my life in innumerable ways, and I am a different person as a result. As my teens are finding their own sense of self, so I am finding myself anew.

  2. Katie (Growing Up KaterTot) says:

    I am so deeply moved by this post. I have a long way to go before my daughter reaches her teen years, but I often wonder if I’m even going to know who I am at that time. Right now, my identity is “P’s mom,” and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’m pinning this on my own personal board today. hoping that I’ll remember to look at this down the road when my little one has grown. Thank you so much for linking up with #candidcuddles!

    • Lisa says:

      Katie, I’m really touched by your comment, it’s wonderful when a heart-felt post really resonates with someone else. I was thinking about what you wrote, and I agree that I wouldn’t ever change building my identity as Biscuit and Berry’s Mum, and now it just means that I need to grow with them into independence (although I am often trying to cling to the joys of dependence!). So glad we have connected 🙂

  3. Becky, Cuddle Fairy says:

    I enjoyed this a second time, it resonated with me. My oldest is 8 & I can imagine that by the time all of them have moved from the house it will be hard to identify myself as anyone other than Mom – as I feel that way already. Thanks so much for sharing with #candidcuddles x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Breakaway Mini-Suite ReviewMy Profile

  4. Becky, Cuddle Fairy says:

    This is a stunning quote, I love it! The idea of growing with your children is really lovely too. If you’d like, I have a quote linky that is live right now, I’d love to have you link up 🙂 I visited from #mummyandus but may have hit the wrong post x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Candid Cuddles #16My Profile

  5. Mackenzie Glanville says:

    I love this quote “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.
    Viktor E. Frankl”
    I can relate to what you say in this post, I too felt this way when Adam started school this year, I needed to find out who I was in those hours that all my children were at school. I am nervous for them being older, I will hang on to every moment I can xx Thanks for sharing such a great post #mummyandus
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…Profound moment #mummy&usMy Profile

    • Lisa says:

      It’s such a fine balance to be the best parent possible whilst hooding on to a sense of self. I think it’s too easy to pour so much of ourselves into our family, only to discover that we’ve lost our way a little bit later down the track as the children go off to school, college or uni. Thanks for your lovely comments, they are a boost to read!

  6. Joy says:

    Lisa, this is so beautiful!! Your words flowed with such grace and there is much wisdom in this. I agree, the toughest part about parenting is balancing the need to let go and to hold on. I’m still trying to perfect it but I know that letting go will hurt. May the Force be with us! ?
    Joy recently posted…The Real Reason Why This Mom Hates HomeworkMy Profile

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks you so much Joy for your kind words, I’m chuffed that this post touched you. The more I think about holding on and letting go it actually seems like a metaphor for so many of life’s challenges!

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