Increasing expectations of health and thriving while decreasing support structures simply goes against the laws of nature. We wouldn’t cut a tree from its roots and expect it to produce even more shade or fruit than when it was connected to its source of stability and nourishment.
But this is what’s happening to us when we parent “consciously,” and from our ideals in a society that doesn’t do the same. We’re asking ourselves to produce more fruit without an adequate root system that supports us.
In order to do and be more than ever before, parents need more support than ever, not less, which is what we are faced with in the absence of grandparents in our homes, alloparents in our communities, and packs of roaming children in our neighborhoods.
The first article that came up when I Googled “conscious parenting” included the following principles as a guide:
There’s not an item on this list that I disagree with, in theory, but achieving these ideals in our day-to-day lives is a completely different story.
Every one of these points describes the opposite of most mothers’ daily realities, particularly the most disadvantaged mothers among us, who also navigate racial, economic, and gender inequalities on the daily.
To expect increased consciousness, emotional labor, and everyday investment of time and energy from perhaps the single most overworked, sleep deprived, emotionally drained, under-appreciated demographic within any culture is to perpetuate the narrative that a mother’s worth is based on her ability to endure suffering and deprivation for the sake of others.
Until more mothers stand up for and honor their own needs and desires, this narrative will continue to present itself, morphing with the times and changing form to fill in the cultural cracks that mothers’ self-sacrifice has always filled. Until we begin to organize our lives around not just our children’s worthiness, but our own, mothers will continue to bear the brunt of cultural pain and dysfunction. Such burden adds immensely to our individual and collective sense of disempowerment, and keeps us from rising to our rightful place in the natural, balanced, and vibrant order of things.
Rewriting this narrative alongside you,