The last few days I've been reflecting on my role in my family. Sometimes I feel like I am the engine which sparks most of what we do, pushing the kids along with me. Being sick allowed me to watch the kids and see the difference in how they function when I am less able to keep our usual schedule and activities.
I think partly the children feel overwhelmed and unhappy when I am sick. I suppose that could be a reason for the low rate of homework preparation and music practice and the high rate of junk food consumption that has been going on. But what if my high energy is indeed the driving force behind a lot of what they do, and because I’m so pushy, they never learn to find that motivation within themselves?
My mother always tells me that the love, effort and thought I put into raising the kids will bear fruit many times over. When I told her about my fears, she seemed to think that the high energy I invest in the children will in time bring about the result that I am hoping for -- that they will learn to practice and do homework by themselves, growing on the path to methodical, conscientious and responsible adulthood.
Her faith in my way turns my question back onto myself. What if my fears that the children run on my “Mother Power” originate not in fears for them but in fears for me, that they will deplete my energy? Is “Mother Power” a renewable energy source?
The answer that immediately comes to my mind is that of course, yes, “Mother Power” is renewable, though perhaps it needs to be manually renewed and is easier renewed before it is depleted. I have many activities during the day which have the potential to fill me with the love, faith, enthusiasm and patience that I need in order to raise the children. I go to exercise classes and on hikes in nature. My writing is certainly a source of satisfaction and pleasure. The support of my parents and my friends. Eating well and healthy and sleeping enough are a big part of my “Mother Power.”
Sometimes, however, it seems not enough. Sometimes I wish I had an external power outlet, that I could plug into and which would fill me up with energy and love. I haven’t found an outlet like that which could give 100% refilling. Instead, I think renewing the “Mother Power” comes in small increments which need to be noticed to be used: a surprise hug from my daughter, my son’s way of leaning on me and putting his head on my shoulder, my boyfriend thinking about me in many wonderful ways, mother’s day gifts which the kids bring from school, the kids sharing a story. All of these are sources for renewing that important energy so I can give it back again.
Was it Einstein who said that energy is inexhaustible, simply converted from one form to another? In parenting I think it is true. There is an abundance of love shared between us, and all I need to do to become replete is to tap in.