nurturing mothers

How are YOU, Mom?

Moms, ever notice that after you have kids, no one asks how you are anymore? Oh, people will do it in an around about way. They'll ask "How is the baby sleeping?" in an effort to discover if you, poor soul, are getting sleep at night. I have even done this from time to time. But why don't most people come out and really ask, "so, how are YOU doing, Mom?"

Some people do, bless their hearts, and if the mom is having a really horrible day and has had no adult conversation for a very. long. time, she will most likely word vomit all over the person who asked this unassuming question (usually the little old lady at church). And no one likes vomit very much.

Maybe that's why people are afraid to ask mothers how they are--because motherhood can be such a hard, demanding, isolating, thankless job. At times, of course. And we mothers DO try and focus on the other side of the coin.

I think that's why people ask: "How are your kids?" or in my case "How are the boys/twins?"

They don't want to hear about the ugly side of motherhood--the side where mommy confesses that she is tired, stressed out, surviving-on-coffee, irritated, and feeling invisible. So it is better, safer, much more pleasant to ask about the kids. After all, kids are cute, sweet, and wonderful all the time...right?

No one answers the "how are the kids" question with: "Well, today they were really whinny, snotty, and clingy. My son peed on the couch and my daughter dumped her oatmeal on the dog's head. By the way, thanks for asking how I'm doing."

No, being the socially aware people that we are, we answer, "The kids are great/adorable/learning so much these days. Growing up too fast."

And we smile. We mean our "safe" answer, of course. But often it isn't really how the kids (or we!) are at that moment. And the well meaning person usually never follows up the question with how you, as the mother, are doing.

The thing is, I DO want to talk about the boys--I love talking about my kids. But the gracious hand of "how are you?" is rarely extended to me. Why is this?  Though "Mommy" is a role I treasure and proudly display, is not the only hat I wear.

So, what is the point in all this? I suppose it is a this gentle reminder: Don't assume that because the kids are well that the mom is too. Being a mother is complicated and it comes with daily challenges and a plethora of feelings.Holding Hands

What if we challenged ourselves to do this: Next time we greet a fellow mom, ask how she is--really ask. She may lie (we all do) because it is hard to be honest about the maternal struggles we all go through. But you will know that you did your part to make that mother feel less invisible, or as "only" the mommy to the adorable children that you admire so much. A mother is first a woman--a beautiful, complicated, intelligent, emotional, sensitive human being who wants to be noticed and known.

But of course, after you've asked about her, don't forget to ask about her kids.

She might get mad if you don't. ;)

Labor Pains: A note from our Executive Director

When we began this website, we posted The Motherhood Collective's "Birth Story" and we invited you to come along with us as we continued to grow and we referenced our possible, future labor pains. Well, here we are and are writing about it. The Motherhood Collective© is experiencing some exciting changes as we continue to increase awareness and network in our local community and beyond.

Many of you have been encouraged by our local outreach, The Motherhood Café. This is one of our favorite ways to serve as it brings us face-to-face with the mothers of our local community. We desire to continue this particular service for years and years to come. That said, we have had to have some hard talks about making the Café as sustainable as possible.The Motherhood Collective

Over the next years we hope to take our passion for education and support to a new level. This might mean providing scholarships for childbirth education, certificates for lactation consultants, supporting local postpartum depression groups, providing increased opportunities to for you to gather with women in your seasons of life, and even planting "chapters" in other communities around the country.

We operate on a limited, donation-supported budget and wish to employ these funds in the best way possible. Currently a large portion of these dollars is used to supply Café food and coffee. While this is a worthy "cause", its reach is not far and we feel there are needs much greater (such as those projects mentioned above).

We are not doing away with food altogether, but rather opening up a conversation. What would you, the women we serve, prefer to see? No food at all or food that costs you a small amount? We know that our incomes vary and that honestly, priorities vary. We are working on several ways to continue offering some type of refreshments, but with different options.  We've discussed providing vouchers for first time attendees, selling prepaid punch cards and gifting punch cards in our new mom baskets.  Please know that making our mothers feel comfortable and cared for on Mondays is still very much part of our intent.  We do not make these changes lightly.

We know that many of you care passionately about this organization and you are the very women we serve. So, would you take a moment to fill out this survey and share your opinions with us? We long to continue in our efforts to Nurture the Mother to Grow the Child and your help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!