“The oedipal mother is the mother who devours her child by overprotecting him or her so that instead of being strengthened by an encounter with the terrible world, they’re weakened by too much protection and then when they’re let out into the world they cannot live.” ~ Jordan Peterson

My Many Mothers

Our biological mothers do us a great service by bringing us out into this world. For that, we should be so grateful. It is no easy task to push a baby out into the world. It’s called “labour” for a reason. The birthing process is just the beginning of many years of physical and emotional work that goes toward shaping a human being who will contribute to the world around us.

These days, mothers don’t readily have access to the emotional support networks we took for granted before the industrial age tore people away from the land and into the cities to work in factories. Historically, humans are social beings brought up in tribes where the birth of a baby was anticipated by a hundred pairs of eyes. Compare that to the nuclear family structure, where it’s just Mum, Dad, and Bub in the household. Motherhood can be isolating and we all know that when people live without social connections, fears and worries can fester. Hence, any mother can become overly protective, particularly, if they’re living far from their families. Jordan Peterson’s description of the oedipal mother is not someone to be condemned or vilified, but one that’s a product of the systems that have become outdated.

To be clear, I would never go back to change anything about my upbringing and certainly could not wish for a better biological mother than Mum.

When it comes to my growth as an artist, I continue to encounter mothers who help raise my skills in self-expression. These women (and some men) have come in at just the right time to hold my hand through a transition in my life, where I had to step into something bigger, like trusting my creative instinct and writing, starting a blog and now starting a business to help others write their lives into books.

Among my many mothers, those who encouraged me to keep writing, are Karen (who was our Community Chaplain), Melissa Indot (a musician, creative and coach), Kath Prior (leadership coach), Julie Nelson (artisan perfumer), and countless others (men and women) who believed in me, supported and showed up for me.

I’m so very fortunate to have met all these wonderful people who chose to wake up to their true powers instead of blindly following outdated standards, traditions, and rules which keep us small, crippled, unseen, and unheard.

43… And Not Fully Grown

I don’t feel I’ve reached my full potential in my 40s. Will I ever “find what I’m looking for?” I think the answer is “no” as self-discovery is not a destination. I find the moments that light me up and that’s what sustains me as I keep striving for what is not visible or tangible in the world just yet.

I know how I feel when I’m surrounded by people who value me and who truly want to see and hear what I have to say. That feeling is what I wish for everyone. Too often, in our friendship circles, or even in our families, we form a dynamic where certain people are “winners” and others are deemed the “losers”. By our current (and outdated) society’s standards, I’m one of the “losers”. I have not established a career and I have no desire to go to school and get a list of qualifications because I feel ticking boxes would take me away from honest self-expression. At this stage in my life, I never want to get too carried away with trying to fit into other people’s boxes.

As I see it, my role within my family and society is to be myself. I free other people to be themselves without guilt or shame. When I see people’s eyes light up with inspiration, that’s my reward. It’s more precious to me than any diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, or rubies.

Truth Telling (with Grace)

Truth-telling comes with a cost. There are people who are not ready to handle our personal truths. Usually, the only person who can’t handle my personal truths is ME.

Every time I feel I have to step up and take more responsibility, fear freezes me and I go through moments, hours, or even days where I’m paralysed and can’t move forward with the thing I must say or do. This only stops me from growing. When I’m in this frozen state, I might turn to housework, the dishes are a popular choice, because there, in the dishes, I can just do something without doing the real work of going out there and experiencing life with all its brutality and wonder. This Mother’s Day, I ain’t doing no dishes.

I feel we are all gifted with nurturing maternal instincts, even men. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are all trying to birth a true and authentic version of ourselves out into this world where there’s so much BS. I know I lie to myself constantly about things like why I get too drained to deal with my kids’ emotions. The honest answer is that I give my attention to social media or TV, wasting my life energy on the lives of people who are nothing to me, and who will never care about me. We make our choices and our attention span is limited, especially mine. I have to be careful that I’m investing that energy into the people who will bring me returns – myself, my partner, and my children first and foremost (family, community, and friends in Australia and Turkey to follow).

This Mother’s Day, I free myself to talk about the things that light me up. That way I free others to talk about the things that are truly in their hearts and on their minds. There’s room at my table for everyone’s personality, lifestyle choices, and growth. Elephants are welcomed and will be addressed (after I collect myself by retreating to the Elephant Room).

My Mother’s Day wish is for clarity, compassion, and the power to communicate in a way that sees, hears, and welcomes everyone’s growth.

Over to you…

What is your idea of a perfect Mother’s Day? How can you communicate your wish for this day to all your loved ones?