Out of respect for your precious little free time and limited energy reserves, I’ll get straight to the point:
We the People need you right now. We need you to realize your worth, rise up in all your messy maternal glory, and lead us to higher ground. Though you likely feel limited in your ability to make much of a difference, your potential to change, better, and help heal our nation (and consequently, the world) is much greater than you’ve been led to believe.
Don’t worry, I’m not here to add to your guilt, frustration, or workload. I know very well how overwhelming it can feel to have both the heart of a changemaker and the life of a mother. What I am here to do is remind you of something that it’s easy to forget within our confused and confusing culture:
You are incredibly powerful, incredibly important, and so very essential to any movement toward a better tomorrow.
Chances are, you don’t usually feel very powerful. If you’re anything like the many passionate, intentional mothers I know, love, and work with, you spend a great deal of your time and energy compensating for and trying to make peace with the disempowerment you feel. Though your work outside the home may meet your needs for a sense of accomplishment, appreciation and legitimacy, rarely is motherhood itself acknowledged as a position of power or great importance. We may intuit our importance, but that quiet, internal voice is easily drowned out by the much louder (and quite convincing) voices around us. Many of us are so accustomed to feeling undervalued, under supported, and/or disrespected in one way or another (both by the culture at large, and within our own family systems), that we suffer from a near-constant sense that we are not doing enough; that we are not enough.
We tend to forget, however, that this reality has nothing to do with our actual worth as mothers and everything to do with the long-told cultural stories that motherhood—and, consequently, every mother’s sense of self—has been misrepresented and diminished by.
In other words, most of us don’t see our roles or ourselves clearly. We buy into the common, largely-unspoken narrative that we can’t make much of a difference, and that motherhood isn’t a position of importance, because in many ways, it feels true. Between constant distractions, frequent exhaustion, unending responsibilities, and the maternal wiring that keeps us primarily focused on the immediate needs of our families, it’s hard to see ourselves as changemakers. It’s hard to see ourselves as powerful people.
Combine this collective sense of disempowerment with the fact that we care deeply about the state of the world and the future we’re handing to our children, and it’s easy to become discouraged. What’s a mother to do as she witnesses countless national and global crises and realizes that she’s too busy with seemingly insignificant, mundane, everyday tasks to do anything about them?
Herein lies not only the heart of our struggle but the key to shifting our story:
We’ve been conditioned to think of our roles as less important than other’s. We feel this way not because our contributions are actually insignificant or unimportant, but because our perceptions of ourselves (as mothers and as women), have been formed within a patriarchy. The very same patriarchy that’s currently rearing its wounded, worn out old head to fight for its increasingly-threatened life. The very same one that depends on our inability to see the true value of our investments, the importance of our unique work and perspectives, the legitimacy of our needs, and the extent of our ability to influence change, for its survival.
Dear mothers, we are the only ones worthy and capable of shifting our story. We know we are important. We know that our investments in our children, our homes, our workplaces, and our communities are essential to the change we wish to see.
We know it because we feel it as deeply as we feel anything.
When you respond to your baby’s sweet cues, you are not merely meeting her immediate needs for nourishment, you are shaping her most primal sense of security — the very same sense of security that will accompany her the rest of her life.
When you listen to his long-winded tales about superheroes and Minecraft, you’re not merely validating his interests, you are teaching him what it feels like to be heard and respected by someone who loves him deeply.
When you connect with your grandchildren, “spoiling” them in ways that only a grandma can, you are not merely doing your duty, but widening their circle of love, deepening their sense of belonging and speaking directly into the hearts of the emerging generation.
Every single time you tend a bloodied knee, handle a tantrum, help with homework, hold a broken heart, encourage outrageous dreams, set boundaries, or prioritize a need of your own, you are being given an opportunity to affect change. You are being invited to help heal the world.
No matter how little recognition we receive, we hold humanity together and we know it. But until more of us acknowledge, stand up for, and claim our worth, the emerging matriarchy doesn’t stand a chance against centuries-old wounded masculine consciousness, social structures, family dynamics, and cultural prioritization.
We are guardians of humanity’s well-being.
We are cultivators of compassion and courage and confidence.
We are nurturers of new life and big dreams and hungry souls.
We are vessels for and instruments of the sacred feminine, and better equipped than anyone throughout human history to make space for her much-needed emergence.
The other day, I came across yet another article suggesting a dozen or so things we should each be doing in order to topple Trump and turn this crazy train around. And once again, I sat there thinking, “Yes, okay, and an enormous piece of this puzzle is missing. This isn’t just about one sick man, it’s about loving this hurting nation back to health. I’m all for calling Congresspeople and writing postcards and becoming more involved in local activism and unification efforts. But it’s equally important that we not overlook the everyday actions, mindsets and consciousness that contribute as much or more to positive change as anything else.
You, dear mother, are doing so much good already. We don’t need you busier, we need you strong and well supported so that you can better lead us.
How do we step into the fullness of our power when our lives are so full already? How do we make the most of the little time and energy we have left to give? Here are a few ideas to get you started. (Your heart holds many, many more.)
Everyday Ways to Make a Bigger Difference
- Stop trivializing your contributions. The ways we speak of ourselves and value our own work in the world shapes the broader story of our worth in the world. When a woman says she is “just” a stay-home mom, for example, she belittles not only herself and her many essential investments, but all mothers fighting for love, keeping kids alive and helping them thrive, and providing stability, safety, and health all over the world. Your daily contributions (whether paid or not) are not trivial. They are fundamental, foundational, and essential.
- Develop your gifts. Whether you’ve discovered them yet or not, you possess strengths, gifts, and intuition that this this planet and its soul-starved people can’t possibly heal without. The sooner you cultivate these strengths, own your gifts, and come to trust your inner knowing, the better for us all.
- Protect your vessel. You are not obligated to consume all the news and information that crosses your path, particularly if doing so leaves you so overwhelmed that your ability to show up strong is compromised. Being selective about what you let into your experience does not make you naive or uninformed, it makes you wise.
- Don’t settle for half-awake. So many women exist an almost-awake state, where they sort of recognize their worth and worthiness but also fear the necessary change that often accompanies a more full, self-honoring awakening. Keep going, friends. Take it slow if needed, and be gentle always, but be brave. We awaken for each other. You can only do so much when a great deal of your energy is spent repressing your deepest truths.
- Re-wild yourself. It’s easy to forget, when immersed in the day-to-day commitments and responsibilities inherent to motherhood, that we started out as wild, untamed, mysterious, undomesticated beings. Women who reclaim their wildness, whether through dance, adventure, sex, art, or sacred ceremony with other women, are saying yes to their wholeness and stepping into the kind of power that has been squelched and beaten out of us for most of human history.
- Brave connections. We cannot, and will not make the kind of progress that’s needed until we are better united and unified as women and as mothers. This requires that we incorporate more of two things into our lives: a willingness to feel vulnerable, and regular courageous connections. Women are starved for authentic connection all around you. They need you as much as you need them.
- Explore your shadows. You possess powers that you cannot gain access to until you explore the painful, long-ignored, shame-stirring places within you. Often, it is best to visit these wounded places within with a confident, competent guide (such as a therapist, a coach, or trusted friend), or amidst a safe circle of awakening, seeking women. Asking for help does not make you needy or weak, it shows your strength and self-respect.
- Listen within for answers. Most of us were never taught to hear the voice of our intuition above the much louder and more insistent voices of the ego and the world around us. Developing this ability, however, is not only possible, but easier for mothers than for many others. We are intuitive beings by nature.
- Cultivate community. We may be free as women (in this country), but we’re still largely disconnected. We were never meant to be raising our children in isolation. We are pack mammals, biologically wired to thrive in tribes and villages. In the absence of communal living conditions, we must get creative about connecting with each other in meaningful, supportive ways. This is key to our rising.
- See your sensitivity as a strength. Never mistake sensitivity for weakness. Sensitivity indicates a strong heart, eager to be engaged and capable of radical love. For more on this topic, read The Highly Sensitive Person, and/or this post.
- Quit competing and comparing. We live in a culture that breeds hostility and divisiveness between women. We’re fed the messages that perfection is possible, aging is shameful, and being beautiful is a competitive sport. It is up to each one of us to decide that we’re not going to drink the poison. We are each others’ greatest allies. No matter how different we may seem, our deepest desires are more similar than not.
- Recognize the bigger picture. We’re mightily distracted as mothers, but we’re distracted by things that matter. Perhaps the single most radical thing you can do as a woman, and especially as a mother right now, is to refuse to reduce yourself, your needs, your desires, your work (whether paid or not), and your worth, by buying into our culture’s limited perception of you. WE have to be the ones to make meaning of our experiences. WE are the ones who get to decide who we are and what we stand for.
- Refuse to be a victim. Yes, your life is hard. Yes, you have a lot stacked against you. But your #1 limitation is and will always be your set of limiting beliefs about your life and yourself. Steve Maraboli says it most simply: “The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.”
- Choose a cause that fuels rather than drains you. I recently attended a local coalition meeting with other activists and passionate changemakers in my community. While the turnout was inspiring, I left feeling quite overwhelmed and discouraged by the sheer number of problems presented. I realized that I am better off focusing on one or two specific causes and trusting that the rest will be held by those with different passions than my own. This is especially important for those of us who are already quite overwhelmed by the intensity of our lives and relentlessness of other people’s needs.
- Challenge conventional definitions of everything. You can pretty much assume that if a message about what’s important to mothers (or for our children) is being perpetuated by popular culture, it’s been expertly crafted to keep you spending. You are the only one who gets to decide what is worthy of your time and money.
- Get used to life feeling messy. Progress is not linear, and it’s rarely pretty. Despite the millions of messages we receive to the contrary, we have to be willing for our lives to get messy if we want them to get better. Period.
- Connect to your source(s) of power. Whether you consider yourself spiritual, religious, or agnostic, connecting to powers greater than yourself (whether the earth or God or the Sacred Mother), is an important part of connecting to your truest self and ability to do the greatest good.
- Increase your emotional intelligence. Greater collective emotional intelligence (or the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically) is key to our advancement and healing as a nation. Fortunately, mothers are better positioned than anyone to model this awareness and impart this skill set to the coming generations. Investment in our own emotional growth is essential.
- Recognize your needs and take them seriously. We live in a culture that has massively distorted the notion of needs. Though we all need certain things in order to feel fulfilled, women, and mothers in particular, tend to deny their needs for fear of being seen as “needy.” The truth is that recognizing and meeting your needs is not only good for you, but good for us all. It’s socially responsible, as it allows you to better express your values.
Women are awakening en masse like never before. The sacred feminine has been summoned, and she’s not going back to sleep. How are you meant to embody her? What part will you play in the most powerful women’s movement in all of history?
We have only just begun to see ourselves for the world-changing, consciousness-shaping beings we are. Don’t stop now, sisters. We need you awake, we need you nourished, and we need you connected.
Humanity is in desperate need of what we’re best suited to give.
In awe of us all,
The mother in me asks, what if? What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead, but a country that is waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor? What if all of our grandfathers and grandmothers are standing behind us now–those that have survived occupation and genocide, slavery and Jim Crow, detention and political assaults? What if they are whispering to us today, tonight: you are brave!? What if this is our nation’s great transition? ~Valeria Kaur
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*Note: Only respectful comments are shared on this blog. Though I welcome thoughtful, kind arguments against my viewpoints, hateful, senseless and tastelessness comments will not be tolerated nor published.
**Photo credit goes to the amazing Jote Khalsa.
I am so grateful for this. Thank you. I wish I could put into words how needed and how comforting your words are for me, at this time, Right Now. <3
I am so glad my words were a comfort to you, Tracey. Sending lots of love.
Beth – a friend shared this and I love it. I quit my job in June to stay home with my girls and to launch a national grass roots network to help elect Hillary. It was called Moms4HRC and i have just changed the name to YesMomsCan, for the new world we are now operating in. We should chat if you are up for it. I have 25,000+ followers on FB and Insta and Twitter. We are pivoting and I think your piece is so spot on. I will post it on the FB page and on Twitter but let me know if you’d like to chat offline. Julie http://www.facebook.com/YesMomsCan.
Hi Julie, Thank you so much for connecting with me and sharing a little about yourself and your passion. I will be in touch! <3
Won-der-ful! All mothers should read this 🙂 Thanks and blessings, Beth x
Thank you, Caroline! Blessings to you as well. <3
Beth you are a crazy amazing writer and so articulate! You might not remember me but we messaged briefly on Facebook a while back… Way to be a voice for mothers in a world badly in need of this type of dialogue!!
Thank you so much for the kind and generous compliments, Summer. I so appreciate it (and you!).
Loving your writings, perfect reflections of what I have been sharing myself. It feels good to know there are other women speaking up and making change xx
Thank you for the kind words, Shekinah, and for speaking up, yourself! <3
I love you, Sunshine.
Thank you Dad. I love you and so appreciate your unwavering love and support. <3
Thank you Beth, this is exactly what I needed to read today.
Wonderful article that would benefit any mother. Thank you!
I have had this waiting in my inbox for weeks now. I knew I needed to find the right moment to really hear this. And this morning, I made that time. Thank you, deeply, for this. I will print this and go back to it time and time again. What a gift.
Beautiful. Everything that has been rumbling around in my heart and head you just put into words. Thank you.
Your article had me in tears! It spoke to the deepest part of my heart and awakened what I have been denying myself. So thank you for writing this and I am so thankful I found it! I am choosing to stand in my whole messy, nonlinear progress and honor me as a mom and woman. I want my daughter to feel value and worth so I must see that and behave as such. Thank you