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  • Lori K Walters

Leaning into the Circle of Mothers

Updated: 6 days ago

Two women sitting on a beach blanket talking at sunset.

I don't give too much of my attention to social media and the internet. There’s so much false, unhelpful, damaging, coercive, caustic, judgmental, useless information. As someone who has dedicated my life to bringing light and peace, it’s just too much. But every so often, because I'm a parenting coach, I feel compelled to take a closer look at what’s out there for conversations and offerings for mothers of teens and young adults. I was saddened by the plethora of ‘how to fix your kid’ and 'here's what you're doing wrong.' That’s just not my thing. Not. At. All. And I was irritated. We don't need this kind of negative crap... arghhh...

Here's what came out of my grief and frustration...

If I were to compose a lament, it would be for the unkind voice inside most mothers’ heads telling us we’re screwing up. Screwing up our child’s life. Screwing up parenting (as everyone can see). Probably ruining it for the future generations too. I would grieve for the hours we spent lying awake thinking about how we should have done it better. Hours that were meant for our bodies to heal and our hearts to rest. Hours of sleep that would have replenished us for tomorrow. I would weep for the frustration and confusion that made us miserable and had us lashing out at our partners, friends and family. When we laid our blame, envy, criticism and complaints at the feet of the ones from whom we would have received the compassion and support we needed. I would growl at all the voices telling parents, ‘Don’t let them see that you’re struggling and don’t know what to do. Don’t confess that you’re triggered by the same damn thing over and over. Pretend you’ve got it all under control.’ And even though we rail against those messages, we still catch ourselves upholding our façade. I would burn all the words that fueled our self-doubt. That had us thinking that someone out there knows better how to raise our child. ‘Don’t trust your instincts. We’re the experts and we’ve got the right answers for you.’ I would want back all the time we spent believing that a parenting challenge was about the child, something to be fixed or tamed. When we didn’t acknowledge that it was us, not them. Didn’t attend to what was really up for us. What we needed. My heart would break again and again for all the times we could have given ourselves more grace. Seen the sufficiency of our pure loving intention. Accepted our learning moments. Loved our traits. And then I would be still. And breathe. . . . . My heart would turn toward our sisterhood. I would hold space for your frustrations and sorrows in your relationships with your kids. No judgement, only love and curiosity. And I would tell you about my parenting blunders and feel no shame. Imagine that. I would accompany you on your exploration of your outdated reactions and the awkward edges of your growth, all the way to where new possibilities lie for you. And I would bravely tell you where I’m getting triggered these days and hold your hand for reassurance as I look under the surface and allow new gems of my truth to emerge. I would confess my fears of being a deficient parent and you would smile and confess yours. And we would know in our hearts that we are perfectly imperfect. And then we would exhale and feel the tension in our bodies soften, our breaths go a little deeper.

We would rest, Every cell in our bodies, In Peace. . . . . And then the breeze would pick up and play with our hair. We would feel replenished, ready to return to our own gardens and families. Knowing we are supported by a bright circle of mothers raising teens and young adults. Held, seen, backed, cheered and loved.

May it be so.

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