Saturday, November 19, 2011

Surrendering to Motherhood

I just finished the book, Surrendering to Motherhood by Iris Krasnow. Its a really good book, you should try to find a used copy somewhere. I came across mine for $.75 at our thrift store. The subtitle is; Losing Your Mind, Finding Your Soul. It was one of my best finds yet, for sure.

Iris Krasnow is a journalist who has a career other journalists would envy. And then she became a mom. She was still a journalist, but she was also a mom, and she tried to find balance in the two. Along with her pre-child esteemed career, she spent much of her adult life trying to figure out her spirituality, searching for something deeper than what she seemed to have.

I'm not going to talk about her spiritual journey much here, except for her it was deeply connected to becoming a parent for her.

Here is why I want to share her story with you. When I try to post my "real parenting" posts I don't want you all to get the impression that being a parent is a horrible thing. I just don't want to be one of those bloggers who always shows pictures, and tells stories that make it appear as though I have my crap together. I want to show both the ups and downs, the ins and outs, the highs and lows, the laugh until your sides hurt, and cry until you run dry sort of parenting things. And in this book I got a lot of that. This book is about a woman who had the most amazing career, that she loved and was really good at, and had to figure out how to make peace with it and children. Its about how difficult it is for women to "have it all" both a career and children. And its about her choice to put her family above all else. Its about her discovery that "When you stay to be where you are, then your life can really begin."

So that being said, I want to give you a few really great stories from her book.

Being There Fully is about loving someone more than you have ever loved anyone in your life. reaching a sublime state with children can come from just staring at them. When I watch my boys sitting next to each other on the couch, huddled under the orange quilt their great-grandmother made, Jack on Theo's lap, Zane's head on Isaac's shoulder, I am overcome by the realization that they all belong to me, that I belong to them...

Isaac frequently screams "Mommy" in a voice that should only be used if there's a fire and I come running to a sheepish toddler, who pleads in a whisper: "I just want you to hold me, Mommy." So I hold him and his head flops on my shoulder and he pats me softly on the back and I wish we could "put today on rewind," like Theo always asks me to do. (page 171)

Upon reading the morning newspaper headlining the Ron Brown plane crash and the arrest of the Unabomber she writes: All the while, my baby Jack was slapping the newspaper for my attention so I could read him the Lillian Vernon catalog that just came in the mail.
"What's this, Mommy? What's this, Mommy?" he asked over and over, as he flipped through the pages and pointed to building blocks and pottery and candles and windsocks. As I listed every item, over and over, I looked into Jack's pale green eyes rimmed with Jade. I thought about how he'll be small enough to tuck into my lap like this only for only a spell longer. And I was reminded of the innocence of the children I must soon let free into a world that may harm them, make them cynical, perhaps even make them bad. I let the newspaper drop to my feet and buried my face in Jack's neck.
This astonishing day is ours, and on this day we have been assigned as mothers the Hurculean task of Being There and Loving our families... We must lavish those we love with our time while we have them. Surely, they are deserving of more of us than our office gets... (page 173)

Sitting down to read Pocahontas with her boys (she has four, did I say that) she writes: In the beginning I am wishing that I had instead grabbed One-Minute Bible Stories from the shelf, but soon I am getting into it, as I point out each bird, each leaf, each butterfly, every color. When I get to the part where Pocahontas has taken John Smith into the forest I am reading to four gaping statues: "As they ran through the trees, Pocahontas showed him how all the parts of nature--animals, plants, the wind, the clouds, even people--are alive and connected to each other. Her words and the importance fo what she showed him so touched his heart that Smith was changed."
I looked at my boys hypnotized by their mommy and pray that nothing ever changes for us... When I close the book a full hour has passed and I'm thinking that whoever invented One-Minute Bible Stories must be one busy person.

Iris Krasnow has written a great book, full of encouragement to slow down and breathe in your children, while wiping banana off the walls, she appreciates her sitters when she has deadlines, but has learned to cherish the days when its just her and her boys. And she has put into words the importance of Being There for your family and her journey of seeing motherhood as freedom.

Its a great read, I think you would enjoy it.
Have a great Holiday

1 comment:

Karen said...

Thanks for this Holli. I turned down an informal offer for a promotion yesterday. My gut reaction was that the position doesn't balance well in the life I feel I need to have right now, and it's nice to get reminders that others are dealing with the same issues and making similar decisions.