3 Steps to Rediscover the Lost Art of Mothering
"The destiny of nations lies far more in the hands of women, the mothers, than in the possessors of power, or those of innovators who for the most part do not understand themselves." — Friedrich Froebel
May 11, 2013 - 1:00 pm
1. Envision Your Motherhood Impacting Generations.
The art of mothering must be passed down from generation to generation in order for families to flourish and strengthen.
Gazing into those beautiful need-you eyes for the first time, it’s easy to feel a little inept. Especially if your generational chain of mothering skills is broken. But you need to know that you’re not alone. The industrial revolution, coupled with the assault of radical feminism, has left most of us feeling like we have to start from scratch. As little girls we dreamed of becoming brides and mommies. We were told that we could be anything — a doctor, a lawyer, even a princess. But how many of us were encouraged let alone taught to become mothers by the women we admired?
So rather than looking to older mothers or grandmothers, another generation turns elsewhere — to mommy blogs and Dr. Talk Show. New theories and trends in parenting are just that — theories and trends. They have not yet been tested by time and circumstance. The common misconception is that we can only learn from new information. The best “new” information simply confirms what we already knew in our hearts.
The truth is we learn most from mistakes — our own and others’. Your mother didn’t have to be perfect for you to learn from her. You become a better mom than the generation before you by passing down the good and learning from the bad.
You are the next link of the generational chain, drawing or rejecting the lessons of past generations. At the same time, the very sound of your soothing voice, your mothering, is impacting future generations in a very real way.
Robin Karr-Morse and Meredith S. Wiley explain it this way in Ghosts From the Nursery,
When the baby is screaming, the nurturing mother provides soothing to lower the baby’s state of alarm. When the baby appears droopy or depressed, an attuned mother will attempt to raise her baby’s state to a more elevated mood. These maternal behaviors, besides providing a moderation of the baby’s mood, are also maintaining an even balance of neurochemicals in the baby’s brain, resulting in the contentment we observe and the baby’s experience of emotional modulation, which over time becomes the child’s internalized model for self-regulation of strong emotions. … If a baby is separated from the mother, he or she experiences the loss not only of the emotional but also of the physiological balance of basic systems that are maintained by the mother’s proximity.
A well-nurtured infant is not only content, but through attentive mothering, the mother creates within her child positive traits down to a cellular level. In other words, the art of your nurturing creates not only comfort, but also physiological resilience in your child, and these traits will actually be passed down to the next generation “instinctively.”