Yesterday a post came up in my Facebook feed promoting enrichment classes for babies. I clicked on the link, curious to learn what the author had to say about how we can best support babies’ development.
The pictures on the website showed floors crowded with tummy time activities– balls, high contrast images, hand puppets, books, musical instruments, blocks, and other enticing, baby friendly objects.
The copy talked about how in order to develop normally, babies need stimulation. But many parents need guidance as to how to best create the conditions for optimum learning to occur.
The author had passion and expertise, and a beautiful mission to empower mothers to connect with their babies and help their babies learn.
Still, reading this website, I felt troubled. Because behind the author’s words was an underlying message that played into some of a new mother’s worst fears.
What if I’m not doing it right?
What if I should be providing something that my baby isn’t getting?
We as mothers often carry the lion’s share of responsibility for many decisions around child rearing, so these doubts, when they surface, run deep. And with experts on all sides creating a pervasive din of often conflicting advice, at times, the list of things to worry about can seem endless.
Maybe she’s not getting enough sleep…
Maybe if she’s not getting enough milk…
Will it harm my baby if we don’t co-sleep? Will it harm my baby if we do?
Am I doing enough for my child? Am I giving her enough?
These kind of doubts can be very hard to navigate. And they can undermine something very important– our trust in our own connection to source, and to our own deep knowing.
Chances are, you already know this.
You discovered early on that mothering was not a race for developmental milestones, but a slow dance— endless, ever changing, and out of time. Being together. Learning each other. Listening to each other. Dancing your way through each new challenge, each new day.
A dance is based not only our closeness, but also on the changing space between us. As much as babies need closeness, they also need spaciousness– the space to inhabit their own sovereignty, and grow into the sovereign beings they are.
You get that so much of parenting is not guiding at all, or stimulating, or doing anything. It is simply looking on… in awe. Appreciating the miracle of life unfolding here, right in front of us, in this being we were somehow blessed enough to help come into this world.
But it’s not just your child who is transforming in such incredible ways.
You too are in the midst of the most astonishing unfolding.
Your miraculous body, a gateway for life.
The love in your heart, vaster than you knew was possible.
Your strength, astounding.
Your resilience, incredible.
Who knew what this body could carry?
Who knew what this heart could hold?
And so, my message for you today is this:
You are enough.
You are the perfect mother for your baby.
You. As you are. With all the qualities you’re proud of, and all those you sometime want to change. All of these things make you you. And they make you the mother your child was meant to have.
So I’ve got an idea…
Wherever we’re at with regards to the things we’re striving for, let’s love ourselves unconditionally.
Let’s love ourselves with abundance.
We have practice in this, after all, now… Let’s love ourselves as well as we love our children.
And in this way, let’s show our children what a love like this truly means.
The freedom to dare. The freedom to fail. The freedom to come as we are.
And in closing, I want to ask you this:
Where are you practicing self-love? (Because we all know, love takes work!)
Where, by contrast, are you struggling with self-acceptance? This might be a place you’re holding yourself up to a standard you can never quite measure up to… It might be a relationship that no longer feels good to you… It might be some other place where you feel stalled or stuck.
How can you find more of the former in your life, and less of the latter?
And wherever you are at on this journey, I mostly just want to tell you that I love you. I see you.
Through our million fragmented conversations, held in parks, before or after my classes, standing in streams, walking in woods, in line at the grocery store, and everywhere we meet in our mothering and our seeking…
I see us, and we are incredible!!!
So let’s celebrate us!
Today’s song isn’t so much for children…. It’s for us. For those times when we just need a reminder..
This song was written by Libby Roderick. When I was in high school, a friend gave it to me on a mix tape.
Years later, I taught this song to the children in a chorus I was leading. There, based on its powerful effect on audiences in the concerts we game, the children affectionately named it “the song that makes grown ups cry.
“Why?” they asked, bemused.
“Just wait,” I told them.
“One day, you’ll see.”
If you enjoyed this post, here are a few ways to go deeper:
Download our latest Meadowlark Music Class album. It’s free / pay what you want!
And if you’re in the SF Bay Area, join us in person!
Meadowlark Music Class, my weekly music class for children and caregivers, meets W, TH, and F mornings at indoor and outdoor locations around San Francisco.
Learn more about Waldorf education through my my outdoor Waldorf parent child class, Apple Star, which meets Tuesday mornings in Glen Canyon.
Or join Mothersong Chorus, an intergenerational group of women who gather weekly to sing and to mark life’s moments together.