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When a mother needs mothering

by Margo Wolfe

I have been spending a lot of time sitting. I just endured knee surgery and I’m not allowed to do much of anything, except ice my recovering knee and watch others NOT do the things that I want to do, like cleaning and laundry. You heard me. They aren’t doing them, at least not the way I would do them.

Like many (but of course, not all) mothers, I run the household; I work alongside my husband, but basically this is my domain and I am proud of the work that I do. Because of this, when I am unable to accomplish the tasks that need to be done or guide others in the tasks that they need to do, then they don’t happen. The mechanism breaks down and needs fixing. The problem is the stress on everyone is great.

You could say that I’m controlling and in some sense you would probably be right, but I do what I do because I am a mother. I want to teach my children to do for themselves and I want them to know how to care for themselves properly and at the appropriate ages. They are not ready to fend for themselves; they need guidance. Yet, there are sometimes when I am unable to provide that guidance.

Women are not machines. Mothers are not robot and I’m struggling with understanding why my body won’t just heal faster so that I can get back to doing what I need to do.  Isn’t there a reboot or reset button that will accomplish that? I know,  I’m learning this and trying to come to grips with it as I lie here unable to guide my children in the tasks of the day. Instead they must help me walk up the stairs, get me out of the bathtub, and even help dress me. They have to put together simple meals and learn to run the washing machine. They have to be patient with me and come to me instead of me coming to them when they have a question. Simply, they need to mother their mother. Sounds easy, yet we are all struggling with this because the role reversal is a challenge. They have been taught these duties before, but having to do them without guidance is hard on all of us. I’m not used to being mothered and they are not used to being not mothered. I’m good at my job, but taking sick-leave to recover is something mothers rarely get to do.

I look forward to the coming weeks when I can be there for them again, but in the meantime I know that we have all learned something about ourselves and what we are able to do. My family can do more for themselves and for me than they realized and I recognized that… it can be good to be mothered by others.

Many blessings on your path!