by MaryBeth Bonfiglio
She is my daughter.
I brought her here through my own desire + conjuring. I brought her here in co-creation with her willingness to grow and take a breath.
Here is the thing.
I don't own her. She is not an extension of me. She is her own fully formed human being with her own expanding life.
* * *
I am often told I am too easy of a mom, too nice, too allowing. I don't require any of my kids to listen to me. I do not even ask for respect. I just don't. She is my teacher just as much I am hers. So there is a symbiosis. An innerbeingness. Not a hierachy. Even though I don’t require listening, we always seem to be ready to receive what the other is saying. Sometimes there is struggle. Sometimes there are fingers in ears. But most of the time, we are ready to listen when we are ready to listen. And so we do.
I help my all children learn to listen to themselves by asking them questions. I trust they will show up in our family with compassion and respect, for themselves, others and in community without force because that is how I try and show up, how I practice living life.
I don't want obedience. I don't pull rank. I do not want her to submit to me or any forces of this world for that matter. I want her to know herself. To surrender into herself and the flow of this world under her own conditions and wants and desires and needs. I want her to know she can have the life she wants. Any life at all. It’s all hers. This is why I am here. To remind her of that constantly. Not to take any of it away with my own agenda.
I am the mother and that means through love and example, I show up as myself, always. In truth. To always be truthful isn’t easy, it’s much easier to hide behind masks and bark off orders… to never let them truly see who you are, but there is nobody else I trust as much as my children be my most uninhibited self with. I only hope this gives them all permission to do the same. With me, with their future partners, in life in general. I am fully Me when I am with them. That means they get all of me. The good and the bad. The entire spectrum of women + mother + human + artist. All the feelings. Because I want them to know they too can be all these things. All the things they are pulled to be and express.
I hold them close, so close. I let them wander, I don’t hover. I tell them stories. When I fail and flail, I apologize. I cry in front of them. I tell them how I really feel. I am not perfect. I am flawed and real and miss a million beats. I mess up… but I always show up. I have no goals for them except that they know freedom, that their hearts always be liberated, that they know the way their bones interconnect with their walk in the world, to know the language of their fibers and the sound of their blood flowing and the passion of the heartbeat. That they know how to rise in action and sink into the earth. And that they know their worth in this world. Otherwise, it's their life, all theirs. I just opened up as wide as I could and let them through. Continusouly. I am only a bridge. A gate. A mother. I want to keep my daughters wild and free. Because it will keep me that way, too.
This isn't an easy parenting path and yet I cannot do it any other way and live okay with myself. There is wild fighting between them; screaming, slammed doors, name calling, tears and plain old crazy. We are not picture pretty, zen or enlightened. As a matter of fact we are a mess. A beautiful, creative mess with high times and low times. Sometimes we are such a mess I am not sure about anything and I doubt it all. But not for long. Like the moon, like the tides, we just roll in and out of the rhythms. Living this way doesn’t make an idealic life. Actually it’s probably more chaotic and requires more deep breathing and attention to each and everything that is happening around us. It requires trust.
I don’t parent this way for immediate results. I don’t parent this way for any result. I just parent this way because it is what feels right and true. I have long burned the parenting books and groups. The guilt and shame and self judgment and not-enoughness were too much for me to handle. I parent this way because it is what my entire being is saying will heal: us, them, karmic lines and the future of our blood.
There really are no rules. I have no guidelines. I have nothing but love. And intuition.
This is non-dogmatic. And this isn’t something I am saying to persuade you to follow my mothering ways. Not at all. Please don’t. This is me saying:
Parent from the heart of your hearts. Your heart. Your one and only true and knowing heart.
Mothering is as unique as a fingerprint. A cosmic imprint.
When we parent from our heart, no matter what it looks like, no matter if it matches the lastest books on parenting or looks like other people around you parenting, or seems outrageously hip or totally typical or downright boring, or cutting edge- just do it, whatever it is, because what your heart speaks is what your child seeks. It is why they chose you and you chose them.
There is a reason we are together. And we each have a specific way and path for guiding eachother in this life, shining a light for each other on our wild way back home. Only we can do it for them. Only they can do it for us.
And I am blessed to walk this path holding their hands, taking turns in the lead and in the follow. Knowing that when they need something, so do I. And when I need something, so do they. From the beginning and back again, it’s all co-creation.
This is sacred work. We are the mother’s of the Now. The Mother’s of the ancient future. All we need to know is this: trust your gut. And all will be well.
May all be well.
MaryBeth is a mother, writer, teacher, speaker, and ritualist. She guides women in intutive expression by tapping into their most potent and powerful voices. She’s also the co-founder and publisher of Amulet Magazine, co-producer of Itsabitch Podcast, yoga teacher, tarot mentor, and spiritual midwife for those who long to dive into the Mystery of their lives. She loves chai tea, rye whiskey, reggae music, breathing in the forest + sea, and anything dipped in gold. You can read more of her work at www.marybethbonfiglio.com.