Motherhood – Taking Care of the Invisible

Mother Holding Child's HandAs a mother, I am deeply concerned with getting motherhood right. This is a tall order with no end to the number of aspects to consider: nutrition, education, discipline, enrichment, spirituality and so on — let alone happiness and letting our children experience authentic, unhurried childhoods. It’s exhausting, especially when I lack so many answers personally, and don’t always know exactly what to think or believe about the conflicting answers I do have.

In her book The Way Back Home, Peggy O’Mara, writes:

All that is really important is invisible: love, God, air.

She goes on to say that what makes mothers unique is that they take care of the invisible.

I love that. The first two are obvious to me, but the last — the air — I take to mean things like home, and the atmosphere there.  The things that let children know in their souls that they are loved and that they belong.

In her famous TED talk “The Power of Vulnerability,” researcher and author Brene Brown noted that in her extensive research on human connection:

There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging from the people who struggle for it. And that was, the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they are worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they are worthy.

She goes on to call these people the whole-hearted and to describe them as living from a deep sense of worthiness.

So it turns out that perhaps my entire job as a mother really boils down to helping my children establish a deep sense of worthiness. The kind that can’t be shaken from the outside. Father, Son and Spirit are working every minute of every day to accomplish this through me because in their eyes, we are all worthy. We all belong with, to and in him. Religion has done an awfully good job of convincing people that they belong if. I don’t believe there are any if’s with God though, and for a child to grow up to be one of the whole-hearted, there must not be if’s when it comes to worthiness or belonging in their homes.

But it turns out it’s not enough to try to do this for my children. They won’t believe it about themselves if they don’t see that I believe it about myself.

As Brene Brown researched what made people have a deep sense of worthiness that gave them this strong sense of  love and belonging, she discovered that what they all had in common was a) courage to be imperfect and to tell the story of who they were with their whole hearts, b) compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, c) connection derived from letting go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were, and d) that they embraced vulnerability.

Dear mothers, we’re never going to be perfect or get it all right. It seems that rarely a day goes by that I don’t hang my head in shame at an action or inaction in relation to my children. But we don’t have to be perfect or get it all right. We shouldn’t be afraid to be who we are and to be vulnerable — we shouldn’t try to be who we are not — and we must care for ourselves too.

The compassionate way we view our own children’s stumblings, God views ours. The tears we cry for their pain, he cries for ours. The way their beauty and worthiness shines in our eyes, ours shines in his. The best gift we can give our children is that conviction about ourselves — that we are worthy no matter what — that we are loved no matter what — and that no matter what, we belong.

Happy Mother’s Day!

~ Jeannine Buntrock


GooseJust a week ago where I live, nearly 20 inches of snow fell on one day in the rarest of May snowstorms. Apparently if you accumulated all the snow that has fallen in May since the 1800’s, it would add up to less than what fell here on just one day. The record was blown by 2000%.

When visiting a local nature reserve, naturalist Greg Munson snapped a photo of a mother goose buried up to her beak in snow. She had been sitting on her nine eggs for two weeks, and no amount of snow was going to move her.

A few days later, the same mother goose was photographed now contending with flooding melted snow as it threatened her nest and eggs. She had built her nest on solid ground, well away from the water’s edge, but life had done what it does to all of us – been impossible to predict.Goose 2

I’m quite sure the mother goose and goslings’ story ends well!

2 comments so far

  1. Mum on

    So beautiful Jeannine. I needed these kind of insights when I was raising you.

  2. Rae on

    Thank you for sharing such well pondered thoughts, Jeannine. This is beautiful, and I wish I could have known as much when mine were younger as well. So eloquently written. We are getting better… give me hope.

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