Being a mom or acting as a mom?

In these last days of my pregnancy, my energies have been drastically decreasing and forced me to lay often down in bed, even in the middle of the day, without reaching, however, some sort of comfort.

Tomorrow I am going to the hospital to deliver my third child on Wednesday.

I really feel my baby is preparing himself as well to this event and I think my belly hasn’t been a friendly place to live in, as it had been for him during the previous months.

Since about two weeks, I am confronting with an annoying feeling of tension, that I easily drop on my loved ones, children included.
I believe this state of tension comes out from knowing my body now needs new and slower rhythms.
While my mind, instinctively determined, finds it hard adapting to it.

In some moments, I doubt about finding the necessary energies to front this new challenge of another baby at home and I am facing feelings of inadequacy towards my role as a mom.

I am perfectly aware that my personal path as a mother, a path that began more than 7 years ago, has been changing me completely and has been opening extremely wide horizons in front of me.
The creative energy that poured out from motherhood, has been allowing me to discover real passion and to live the life I strongly wanted for myself, without being influenced anymore by my old role of child.
I know I have been developing the awareness of what I know now is my real inner nature and I believe this discovery has made me a better, more mature, individual.

Lately, stimulated by some readings, by some topics read in the mom-blogs, and of course, by the day-to-day life experience with my 2 children, I am confronting with some thoughts that, as delivery approaches, are becoming more and more urgent.

Meanwhile, I have completely realized my children aren’t little people anymore, have been developing a clear and defined personality and have been facing daily the outside world’s progressively complex challenges.

And what I happen to notice by their behaviors and reflections, is often characterized by my personal feeling, as a mom, I should have, in some circumstances, definitely done better.

I mean, I am aware I usually did what I really could, also being led by a sincere and vivid enthusiasm. But at the same time, I perfectly know that I often couldn’t help my children the way I could or should have done.

As every mom, I immensely love my children, but I am not exaggerating so much in saying that sometimes, even in perfect good-faith, I happened to be more infatuated by the role of being a mom and by the glory of motherhood, than of being, simply, their mom.
As I have been putting acting as a mom before a sincere and direct observation of my children effective needs the moment required.

I actually don’t know if all of this prevented them from completely experimenting themselves while fronting the little-big challenges life has brought in front of them, until now. But I am certain, instead of putting before my presence’s and my adult reasoning’s filter, I should have been “Helping them to do by their own“, just to mention one of the most famous Maria Montessori’s quotes; letting them walk with their own legs and forcing myself to sustain them only in the moment of their real need.

Moreover, what at that time seemed to be the most loving and closest way of being present as a mom, has been slowly actually undermining their trust in themselves, progressively inoculating the doubt inside of them they couldn’t help themselves, without my direct participation.

I don’t think I can define myself as a selfish mother, but I must admit sometimes I savored the bitter taste of a fascinating feeling of power. Mostly accentuated by the fact I am a mom of 2 boys, so the unopposed queen of the house. Talking nonsense, maybe a girl could have been put this insane imbalance in the right perspective and could hopefully have drop all these unconscious matriarchal illusions down, at the right time.

But now, there’s a bigger danger in front of me, and that is a direct consequence of the mistakes I made with my children in the past.
The mistake of surrendering to the fear of making mistakes again and of giving up to stillness, wallowing in an unproductive feeling of failure.

There’s a another quote, by Edmund Burke that I framed and hanged near our door at home that says “Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little.
I truly believe the worst mistake I can possibly do now is keeping on feeding any kind of expectations towards myself and my children, pretending to change completely from a day to another.

Anyway, I know that before today, even if I felt some increasing inner discomfort, I couldn’t actually be able to acknowledge all the mistakes I have made.

A great opportunity stands in front of me and my family, now.
The new beginning we are approaching, that will come out from the extraordinary circumstances of this new life that soon will join ours, is a chance to grab quickly. A chance of setting up healthier parental approaches and go crucially further in my personal path as mother:

without interfering with grown-up methods and strategies, lightening up the weight of my bulky ego and of my parental expectations

looking and listening deeply and teaching less

giving up on stimulating them with pre-packaged situations and instead, focusing on being completely present when requested by their real needs.

– Silently putting myself out of the scene and letting, finally, my children be the leading roles of their own life.

Decluttering

Around the blog-sphere, during these first days of the new year, there is such a great talking about resolutions and goals.
I adore these states of ferment, mostly because , as some of you could have well presumed, I am a huge fan of plans and organizational skills.

One of the hottest topics of the moment is decluttering, a simple word that became so popular thanks to Flylady, and that means getting rid of the useless stuff around our houses, with the intent of taking off the superfluous and keeping only what it is strictly necessary. Elisa on Genitoricrescono.com wrote just some days ago, an interesting and useful post on the subject, that I highly suggest you to read. And Silvia and Serena have just launched a brilliant therapeutic initiative for drifter parents as we all are.

I am talking about that, because since some months ago, our house has been the subject of a huge decluttering operation.

Pushed by the soon arrival of the third baby boy, we are working hardly room by room, to literally create space for the newborn and get everyone ready to welcome him in our house.

I began some time ago with closets: taking advantage of the change of the season, we abandoned our needless clothes and took only what was right for our actual life (and size!). Then, we moved to the master bedroom, to the craft room and to the kids’ room and, finally, to the garage, a sort of purgatory of any kind of objects that fell into disuse and that we, just as a habit of unconsciousness, thought we couldn’t get rid of.

Meanwhile, something is happening. The more we proceed, the more I am conscious that our decluttering, that started from material items, is actually more and more becoming a spiritual decluttering of our entire family.
As if, everyone of us, is creating space to the new baby inside our soul as well as inside our rooms.

The act of getting rid of the items of the past, is slowly but progressively helping us on resetting ourselves as a family and on getting ready to begin again, in a new, different and unknown family asset.

We are all 4 conscious that our family routines will be soon no longer the same. And, even if sometimes we perceive it with a little of preventive nostalgic attitude, we think it’s all extremely exciting.
Surely we don’t have any idea of what after would be, when the little baby will be here, but everyone of us, according to his own rhythm and reactions, is getting used to the idea that what some time ago were only words and expectations, will be soon a living reality that will surround us all. And will take us elsewhere. Elsewhere from the past. And where only the present moment counts.

During this special moment, the moment just before the leaving, when we say goodbye to what we are dropping behind and when we get ready to face the new, we are living really strong contrasting feelings.
At the same time, the objects (may they be letters, documents, toys, clothes or so on) and the act of taking them in our hands to feel the weight of their value for ourselves and to feel what kind of relationship connects ourselves with them, are helping us understanding how much, by the flown of time, they actually have become sorts of emotional catalysts , as they attracted tangles of thoughts and memories inside themselves that actually we took, for too much time, for granted.

We all realized, everyone in his own way, that most of the times these objects, so fully plunged in emotional habits, don’t correspond (anymore) to our current feelings. And that often they are some kind of fetishes of some simple and automatic connections of thoughts, that no longer belong to real feelings anymore.
Thoughts like: “…This was a gift from…” or “..I played with this when…” or even “…I take this in case of…” are evident signals of an attitude focused in the past or in a hypotetic future, that don’t actually deal with ourselves as individuals and as a family.

But mostly, as soon as we stop and just reflect a little on that issue, they don’t have really any kind of relationship with the items themselves.
In fact, they, emptied by that inappropriate weight, become lighter and regain their true material nature, letting us looking at them for what they really are, instead for what they represented or they could be. And for the most part of them, this means knowing that they are no longer necessary items.

In that way, decluttering has become a sort of family therapy towards our inner nature. Towards the values and the priorities that define us as family.

This path, that started from the mess of a cluttered house, full of piled-up objects, belonged to other selves and other ages of body and soul as well, is becoming more and more a journey through the deepness of the simplest living as possible, in line with our inner feelings.
This is allowing us to leave behind, without useless resentments and obsolete sentimentalisms, what is really needless and that could
only make our journey harder.

So, we came to an agreement with the liberating conclusion that, even if we can practically get ready and organize for the new life’s coming, we could never know how it will actually be until we are living it in the present that isn’t come yet.

We are feeling surely happier to see we have lightened our luggage from what doesn’t belong to us anymore and to cherish mindfully, even just as a precious memory of our past lives, only what is worth to be preserved.

Coloring Mandalas


It’s holiday time in our house and with no school until the 9th of January, we’ve been scheduling lots of activities with our children.

Now they are more grown-up kids, most of our time has been spent outside, at relatives’ or friends’ houses or even at the theatre.

But one of the most successful activities of this time around, has been coloring Mandalas.

I read some time ago in Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness With Children, another one of the wonderful books by Thich Nhat Hanh, how this activity could be simple and relaxing for kids of all ages…and not only for them!

Browsing on the web, I found lots of links, in Italian too, like this one by Claudia, written in her blog The little house on the prairie, so I decided to give Mandalas a try.

As I wrote in the post Bellies & siblings, this is a very challenging moment in our family life, due to my child P.’s aggressive reactions, especially towards his older brother.

Though I made some plans to take children engaged in some sort of activities during the entire days, I am currently suffering from managing transitional moments between the activities, as for instance, that challenging time while making lunches or dinners.

The art of Mandala has been used from ancient times and in different cultures around the world to visualize the circular form of life and universe.
Coloring Mandalas, it is said, helps finding balance and focus and it could have a reassuring and relaxing effect. Marie Louise Von Franz, Jung’s most famous pupil, used, as his master, Mandalas to study human personalities. She underlines how, by the art of Mandalas, individuals can reach clarity in psychic confusion and how they can actually empower new positive psychical abilities.

My children love drawing, but when they are at home, they usually prefer to draw by their own than coloring pre-made drawings. I attribute this to the fact both of them have been taught in school to color inside the borders as the main priority in creative arts.

However, I had been noticing that both of my children were soon attracted by the shape and the symmetry of the printed Mandalas I gave to them and they immediately began to color in a focused and quiet atmosphere.

Even P., who usually gets easily stressed if those kind of activities last for too long, surprisingly asked me to color some more of them.

Even more surprisingly, the quiet atmosphere protracted for the rest of the afternoon, even in challenging moments that usually require my full attention and patience, as for instance, before and after dinner, when children are nervous and tired and they get easily frustrated or excited.

We are longing to come back to coloring Mandalas, as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the web is full of links where anyone can download for free amazing Mandalas for kids.

For our fist experiment, we downloaded Christmas theme Mandalas too, in fact, actually there are so many out there, that you just need to digit “coloring mandala” in the search box and you’ll get millions of them!

If you are interested in purchasing the Thich Nhat Hanh’s book I wrote about in this post, you can do it from this affiliate link: