Comfort = there are various dictionary definitions of the word comfort that generally demonstrate the following meaning:
– a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint
– the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief and distress
But comfort also has another meaning when we look at the word from the perspective of the comfortability we can draw from not challenging ourselves or speaking up with the truth, or making choices that may feel deeply loving for ourselves but may challenge societal norms – one example if choosing not to drink alcohol when it is a social norm to do so. Through this comfortability we stay comfortable and don’t ‘rock the boat’ or shake things up from how they are.
As I deepened my relationship with myself as a woman this revealed to me a lot about the way I had mothered in the past. Deepening the relationship with myself is a constant re-awakening to what parenting my children is really about. There are a lot of ideals, beliefs and pictures about mothering but when considering the topic of ‘comfort’ and how we can be with our children from that space of comfort the first step was stripping back the layers of what wasn’t working.
In starting to strip away those layers what I found underneath was that providing comfort to our children is not what instantly meets the eye – there is more to this subject and this word. In fact, it was never about me truly comforting my children but all about the ‘so-called’ comfort I brought to myself in holding back from expressing in a true, firm and loving way. When I say ‘so-called comfort’ I mean – it never really felt comfortable at all, but was more the benign act of sitting back to allow my family to basically rot around me. ‘Rot’ is quite a strong word so let me break down what I mean by this. By sitting back in a form of comfort to not express what I felt, to ‘rock the boat’ or make change in the family, it meant that life stayed as it was, without the evolution that was called for.
For example, allowing my children to come home from school and not address how they were feeling if they didn’t come home still shining or feeling connected with themselves or my partner, if he came home exhausted or not feeling himself and not saying anything about this. But it could also be not bringing the next thing to support everyone to take more responsibility for themselves and in the home.
I had to throw out the pictures and the role and come back to every move I make in my body and feeling what feels right from a body sense and not from all of the things that can circulate in my head. Like having sensed something needs to be said or done and then talking myself out of it with doubts, ‘maybe I’m wrong’, ‘maybe I will upset someone?’
When you start to strip this away, at first it seems like you are turning everything you know about life (mostly from your head) on it’s head, but then everything starts to finally make sense. The truth is that as women we turn mothering into a big thing but only because we don’t have an absolute base of deep love and self-worth as our foundation first as women. If we did and when we do, it can be very simple.
As young girls it is often if not in all cases assumed that we will and should grow up to get married and become mothers. Young women who grow up not feeling connected to their self-worth and a deep knowing of who they are are bound to grow up feeling like being a mother will fulfil them. Being a mother can fill a need in us as women, an emptiness within that isn’t filled by our full expression. Instead we start to tick the boxes looking outside to fill that space which leads to mothering from a place of wanting to be nice or please others rather than being true – this is the comfort I am describing as I have experienced it. It’s a false sense of love that we offer to be liked and to keep the peace but we all suffer from this way of being.
I can certainly feel the power in all women coming back to that foundation and the way we would then be raising our children. Building self-love, and self-worth is a key to this. Giving expression a go, even if we get it wrong its often more fulfilling and potentially evolving for all – to give it a go and if wrong then correct it after, rather than holding back what is potentially there to express. Clearing away the layers of what isn’t working without looking at other families and checking if what we are doing is okay. And appreciating ourselves and each other in family life, to the endth degree, there is way too much focus on what we are not, rather than who we are.