My journey to motherhood began when my husband and I were sitting in the car in a Sears parking lot and we got the call our daughter had been born. Well, it actually began years earlier, with tests, surgeries, shots, and procedures.
Maybe you can relate to that and have had a similar journey, or maybe you always knew foster care or adoption would be a part of your story. Maybe you came into caregiving to support a close friend or family member who wasn’t able to care for their child for a period of time. No matter how you arrived as a caregiver, you are making a tremendous difference in the lives of children.
What is mothering? Webster describes mothering as being caring, protective, and kind. My goal, and probably yours too, is to provide a nurturing environment to those who might otherwise not have one, and in that provision, support for healing.
While Mother’s Day can be quite difficult for some of us, let’s look at the joy that mothering can bring to our lives. When most people think of joy, they think of big moments like getting married, the birth of a child, or landing a dream job. JOY can also be created in small moments such as a beautiful sunset, sharing laughter with friends, or a hug from a loved one.
J – Jump In
When you welcome a new child home, they may not be coming from a place of joy. So, how can we impact the level of joy we feel in our lives, and share that with our children? First, let’s engage in play! One of the best ways to increase how much joy we feel is to bring in laughter (and it is great for attachment as well!). Find some fun activities. Read a joke book or engage in something creative. What did you love to do as a child? Blow bubbles, paint, play a game, just engage in the fun! Experts say that laughter releases our “feel-good hormones,” which, in turn, play an important role in bonding. So, bring on the play!
O – Ordinary into Extraordinary
Take time to notice and experience joy in the ordinary things that occur in a day. Perhaps your favorite song pops on the radio, or you find time to put on something cozy that you love. For me, finding joy in the small moments is a way of living my life to the fullest. It is a way of appreciating the simple things in life and savoring the moments that matter most. Whenever I am feeling down or stressed out, I like to take a few minutes to reflect on the small moments that brought joy into my day. This helps me to shift my focus away from the negative and toward the positive.
Y – Yes!
Part of forming strong relationships is giving lots of “yeses,” and it feels good to say yes! Saying yes opens you up to new challenges, empowers and affirms others, and creates an environment where our kids can feel safe to try new things and succeed or fail. Saying “yes” will also allow you to experience things in a new way (releasing those positive brain chemicals we are looking for), create opportunities for connection, and bring us joy in the process.
This journey you are on can be overwhelming, with lots of ups and downs. I encourage you to pursue connection and healing through moments of joy that can be found in the big things in life as well as the small. Choosing to look for joy around us, and engaging in the things that promote happiness, can help us connect with others, support healing for our children, and foster fulfillment in our lives.
Katherine Moshier is the Texas Director for All God’s Children International, a TBRI® Practitioner, and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She enjoys working to support families through the adoption process, as well as through mental health challenges. As a wife and adoptive mom of three adult children, she finds the process of helping support individuals and families to be a privilege.