Mom Before Mom

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A weekly blog exercise journaling the mother's journey as a woman. If we don't honor our journey, who will? Original image by aussiegal via Flikr.

One of the kindest things we can do for another human being is to be present. To be fully in the moment, listening to them, seeing them. It’s our greatest honor to be able to bear witness to one another’s existence. Saying in words, in glances, in heartfelt gestures, “You matter. You mean something.”  We must do this for no reward, not out of demand or requirement or with expectation, but as a gift to one another. And not just in the grand moments of life involving celebration or tragedy or monumental transition. Bearing witness takes placesin standing by during the boring moments of everyday life because even in those there are memories, there are stories.

As a mother, I feel a tremendous responsibility to see my daughters with eyes and heart wide open. To be sure they know their lives will never go unnoticed because I will notice. It’s a holy task for a mere mortal. It’s a constant exercise in silencing the noise which distracts us so frequently from truly seeing i n t o one another. I am blessed to be able to stand by them on their life’s journey from the very beginning. To witness them blossoming into themselves, developing opinions, testing boundaries, discovering their emotions, power and voice…to be there every step of the way as they navigate this very grown-up world.

I am also keenly aware they have spent their entire lives by my side, observing, witnessing my journey as a mother. As a mother. It’s all they’ve ever known. Me as mom. There is knowledge there of a life before them but it’s just a foggy prologue to today. In their tender hearts, they have yet to fully realize how long life’s journey is and how every moment, every choice, every experience lends itself to a future self.

I will be bestowed with a passenger’s memory of their journey, of how they came to be. I will have stood by as they have written the stories of their lives. I, on the other hand, must make a conscious decision to share my own journey, my stories with them so they may understand how I’ve come to be and how I continue to grow into myself. 

This is my project for 2013 – to tell the stories of life before motherhood, the stories which have made me who I am and the stories I continue to live right before them but which elude them. So much of memory keeping is focused on capturing our children’s experience but what of our own? Who will capture the mother’s journey as a woman? Who will honor our journey if we don’t honor it first? Every Saturday in 2013, and perhaps beyond, I’ll be answering a question, journaling my life stories. The topics will cover everything from nicknames to first pets to first travels to favorite books to most memorable moments with my own parents – it’s been a long and full life so far so there’s plenty of ground to cover.

My hope is to make this a community effort. To gather a group of women, writers, storytellers who are eager to write from the heart and share themselves. So I invite you to join me. My vision is to write for a year then publish all of my Saturday posts into a book to share with my daughters. I see this as a project in honoring myself and also in nurturing the writer in me, to do the kind of writing which most naturally flows from me.

Every month I’ll be sharing 4 – 5 questions so you can go ahead and write them at your own pace. Each Saturday I’ll post my story in the early morning with a link up option at the end of the post. If I get creative and figure out how, I’d like to create a pretty download for each month to inspire us all. Here are the questions for January:

1/12 How did you get your name? Did you always love it? Have you ever wanted to change it?
1/19 What did your childhood bedroom look like? Give a tour. How did it change as you matured?
1/26 What was your favorite home cooked meal as a child? Did you help make it? How did it make you feel? Share the scents and sights and flavors.

Take complete creative liberty with these. This is about remembering and breathing life into our memories. See you next Saturday!

 

 

 

While I’m giddy with excitement over this labor of love, I’m at a stand still for what to name it, though. The title of this post, “Mom Before Mom” seems accurate but I’m not sure if it gets to the heart of it all. I’d love your suggestions for a name for my little project. Leave your ideas in the comments. Tune in next Saturday to see what I name her!

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42 Responses to Mom Before Mom
  1. Shell
    January 5, 2013 | 12:09 pm

    What a wonderful project! I can’t wait to read more, and I am excited for you to be creating a book! Love this! xoxo
    Shell´s last blog post ..Look what I found~ more fun in Florida with the Ferenc’s!

    • Carla
      January 5, 2013 | 9:25 pm

      Thanks for the support!

  2. Kristie
    January 5, 2013 | 12:11 pm

    I love this idea. I’m going to follow your questions and look forward to giving this book to my kids.
    Kristie´s last blog post ..Advocate for Your Parents

    • Carla
      January 5, 2013 | 9:25 pm

      I’m hoping to partner with a company to make it easy for everyone to do on their own blogs. Crossing my fingers I find someone =)

  3. Michele C.
    January 5, 2013 | 12:26 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this idea, and will indeed be writing along and linking up. This is such a fabulous idea, thank you!!!!
    Michele C.´s last blog post ..Well-Being Wednesday: Happy New Year!!! #wbw #2013

    • Carla
      January 5, 2013 | 9:24 pm

      Can’t wait to read your responses!

  4. Megan
    January 5, 2013 | 1:20 pm

    Carla, this is wonderful. I’m excited to join you on this project. What an amazing idea. xoxo
    Megan´s last blog post ..Some Exciting News

    • Carla
      January 5, 2013 | 9:24 pm

      I’m so excited! I’m going to try to carve out a day each month to write all the pieces. Let’s see how that goes =)

  5. Heidi
    January 5, 2013 | 1:38 pm

    Very inspiring Carla! You write so beautifully, I’m looking forward to following along! <3

    • Carla
      January 5, 2013 | 9:23 pm

      Aww thanks, Heidi!

  6. Joanna
    January 5, 2013 | 2:35 pm

    OH this is a fabulous idea, I can’t wait to join you!
    Joanna´s last blog post ..“Give Peas a Chance” feeding your picky toddler {book review & giveaway)

    • Carla
      January 5, 2013 | 9:23 pm

      Looking forward to it!

  7. Kameron @ My Wrinkle in Time
    January 5, 2013 | 10:12 pm

    What about “Me before Mom” :) I can’t wait to participate!
    Kameron @ My Wrinkle in Time´s last blog post ..First Day December 2012

    • Carla
      January 5, 2013 | 10:27 pm

      Oooh I love that! Such a subtle change but big impact. Thank you!

  8. Jen
    January 5, 2013 | 10:24 pm

    Love this idea! Count me in!!

    • Carla
      January 5, 2013 | 10:27 pm

      Love your writing so can’t wait to read your replies!

  9. Kristin Wheeler (Mama Luvs Books)
    January 5, 2013 | 10:48 pm

    I love this post!! “Being present” is one of my goals this year!!! I really need to work on that with my kids and husband!
    Kristin Wheeler (Mama Luvs Books)´s last blog post ..New Year’s Resolution Series 2013

  10. melissa at filling our bucket
    January 6, 2013 | 8:14 am

    I’m in!

  11. Lily from It's A Dome Life
    January 6, 2013 | 11:24 am

    What a terrific project you are embarking upon. It looks like you will have great success! I love the idea of sharing memories from your past. What a great gift for your children. I think about that often too with my blog. Someday, my daughter will be able to read all of this and truly know what her mother was like as a person. That is pretty cool stuff!

    I love the reminder to be present and in the moment. The idea that our children have only known us as “mom” is one that fills me with joy and angst at the same time! What a responsibility we have as we create the world our children live in. We play such a huge part in the memories they are forming. We have to put down our cell phones, turn off the TV and forget about our “to-do” lists and pay attention to what is right in front of us.
    Lily from It’s A Dome Life´s last blog post ..Fiction Friday #1

    • Carla
      January 6, 2013 | 10:11 pm

      Amen! And you’re so right that being known to our children as just a mom is both a source of joy and angst. I hope they see the joy I get from this life I’ve chosen because I want them to cherish motherhood as I am. Thank you again for stopping by!

  12. Jen Greyson
    January 6, 2013 | 9:21 pm

    I LOVE this idea. Especially when I look through photo albums of me and my husband and realize our mothers were never IN the pictures of us as kids, but always TAKING them. So this is one more great way to record our lives. So fantastic.

    As for a name….hmmm. I’ll have to mull it around for a while.
    Jen Greyson´s last blog post ..Goodbye, 2012. Hello, 2013.

    • Carla
      January 6, 2013 | 10:07 pm

      Yes! I barely have any pictures of my mom growing up. I’m trying best in that department, too =)

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