Before a woman even becomes a mother she is bombarded with ideas of what a successful mother does. From the well-intended suggestion from a loving family member, to the intrusive assertion of a strangers opinion in the grocery store, to the contradicting articles and latest medical publications, mothers (and moms-to-be) are unable to escape this continuous flow of seemingly expert opinions. With the temptation to Google any feelings of uncertainty on top of everything else, it doesn’t take long for a new mama’s intuitive sense of knowing to become overwhelmed and lost among the clutter of external input.
I recently saw a few questions posted in a local social media “mom group” that made me sigh, remembering those days of early motherhood. I remember feeling unsure of whether she was getting her needs met and the frequent “what is this and is this normal?” questions. With our phones in our pocket or diaper bag, we don’t pause long enough to hear our intuitive answer to our concerns… instead we’re already scrambling to search for the answers. Not only are we outsourcing what can frequently be found within, we’re also supplying ourselves with dozens of potentially contradicting and often unreliable stories that foster anxiety and worry instead of supporting peace and self-confidence. On one single question posted within this mom group, there were over 25 different responses… complete with a few horror stories of worst-case scenarios.
So how do we foster the shift from outsourcing with anxiety to empowering from within? By reconnecting with our innate sense and ability to mother mindfully, and remembering that our intuition exists for a reason! The more we internalize the lessons our earth provides us, the better we can feel knowing that we are a part of nature. Like mothers of the natural world we can provide care that not only keeps our little ones healthy and safe, but encourages them to learn through awareness and exploration. Here are five helpful tips from Mother Earth for mamas seeking to raise their young’ns more mindfully:
- Mother knows best. While it’s our responsibility to be knowledgeable of our child’s basic needs and development, your intuition (your inner sense of knowing) is your greatest resource. You, and sometimes only you, are aware when something feels off or you feel in complete misalignment with how someone else chooses to interact with your child. Just as a wild animal knows when and how to protect their young, you do as well. Trust yourself… more than Grandma, more than your neighbor, and certainly more than Suzie McFacebook Motherhood Expert.
- Believe in your natural mothering abilities! If the mama squirrel in your backyard can keep her babies alive and well, so can you. It is deeply ingrained within us to know how to keep our young growing healthy and happy… now it’s time to stop doubting yourself! Practice daily affirmations such as “I am confident in my mothering abilities” or “I trust in my powerful mother’s intuition” or “My inner sense of knowing is natural and strong”.
- Follow your pet’s example. Notice how your family furball stretches slowly and deeply upon waking, and rests when tired. Simple self care can be overlooked when caring for your little human(s) so listen to your body’s needs and hydrate well, stretch often, and rest when you’re able.
- Let them learn through exploration. Stress less about curriculum, reciting the ABC’s, or writing their name and allow them to learn the way nature intended by exploring what excites them. Follow the fun and find a way to weave your intended lessons into their interest or open yourself to the new opportunities for learning you may stumble upon by accident… as those are often even more exciting!
- When all else fails, return to our home of the great outdoors. Feeling overwhelmed and anxious? Wrap that baby to your chest and take a walk outside. Toddler full of tantrums today? Play in the forest together. Stressing about your teens choices? Go for a nature walk together and genuinely connect with one another. The most fulfilling family experiences and much needed peacefulness can be found among the wisest of our mothering elders, Mother Nature herself.
What lessons of motherhood has the natural world taught you? We’d love to hear them below!