The imperfect mum and the art of wabi-sabi.

There is a Japanese art form called Kintsukuroi “Golden repair”, which is essentially when broken pottery, instead of being discarded is repaired using resin mixed with powdered gold.

From what I understand (and I can’t make this clear enough – I am absolutely not an expert in Japanese culture or language) this process is aligned with the concept of Wabi Sabi- or perfect imperfections. Essentially treating breakage and repair as an important element of the object’s history and journey instead of something that should be disguised or worse – discarded.

Can we have a bit more Wabi Sabi in our mothering?

Can we be kind to ourselves and allow the less than Instagram worthy moments of our day to be acceptable?

Can we be gentle with ourselves if we are frustrated or even angry with our child/spouse/ experience of mothering? If we lose our temper can we apologise and move on?

Can we journey through the crappy parts of our day being mindful that the lows are as welcome as the highs? That the hours from 4-7pm (or 8 or 9…) are just as rich and valuable as the rest of the day? 

The times we are challenged and stretched are not failings and weakness but important and celebrated parts of our mothering. 

Becoming a mother is a massive, life affirming change. One that was once marked with ceremony and rites. Jane Hardwicke Collings writes abundantly on this topic, explaining that these rites still exist – the lessons in them, however, are abundantly different. Where once the mother was a figure to be valued, honoured and protected, she is now at best functional, at worst without value.

In modern western culture, women are expected to navigate motherhood unaided. They are guided by “experts” who regularly contradict each other, told they are told they must manage it all, but not trusted with their decisions, and that the entire fate of their child’s well-being rests on their shoulders. Perfection is not attainable but anything less is inadequate.

You, dear mother, are a warrior. You are doing more with less than is needed for the task.

When you get it wrong – and every single mother has got it wrong at least once don’t forsake the journey. look at these moments where you have the courage, the tenacity to stand up and try again, Where, in the face of an unforgiving and aggressive sea of voices telling you that your lack of perfection is the root of your child’s problems you are powerful enough to keep trying.

Those times are worth painting in gold. 

 Jennifer Hazi is a mother, midwife, educator & mentor in Sydney, Australia. She is really passionate about women having voices and choices in maternity care and absolutely loves working alongside women and their loved ones during this time. 

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