Monday, July 6, 2015

Musings From Another Mother: Becky.

Once a month, I've been making an effort to share musings from other mothers who inspire me.

January: Janelle 
February: Ashton 
March: Andrea
April: Allison + Annie 
May: Jen
June: Mallory 

 For the month of July, I'm proud to showcase Becky. Even though these beautiful people look like four siblings, the woman in green is actually their mother. 

Becky is a close friend of my husband's family. She also has taught Lilah Grace how to swim. I absolutely love going to Becky's house, because not only does she entertain my busy 2 year old while teaching her a love of water, but she also somehow manages to have the most perfectly concocted cocktails with only the freshest of herbs as garnishes. I've always looked up to Becky and her enriching parenting tidbits, so needless to say, I wanted to share her musings on my blog. I was also excited to share musings from a mom who's already RAISED her kids. All the other moms I've interviewed for this series are in the process of raising young kids. We're still trying to figure it out. This month is unique in hearing from a seasoned mama who has been through the Terrible Twos and Torturous Teens, with grace. I discovered way more about this inspiring mama, and fell even more in love. Enjoy the inspiration! 

What’s your definition of a feminist?
A feminist is someone who values the power of women and sexuality and difference.  S/he acknowledges and celebrates the strengths and vulnerabilities of both genders.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Do you feel closer to whatever you call the Higher Power since having a “feminist awakening”?  Further from it?  Ambivalent? 
I don’t recognize having a “feminist awakening”.  I was raised by a feminist mom and step dad, who thought themselves to be progressive.  And, in a far more removed sense, by an overbearing male chauvinist dad and submissive step mom, who thought themselves to be traditional.  All of those influences combined to show me the power and glory of feminism; of respecting women (ourselves and our co-earthlings), albeit in different ways.  My mom modeled resilience and drive, divorcing a man without a clear financial plan, knowing she had to leave the violence and fear in order to survive, struggling her way through grad school with 2 small girls.  (I recently toured TWU with Ian and related the stories of how my sister and I, 8 and 10? were left on the campus to our own devices while Grandmother attended school there during summers.  We spent the days trying not to speak aloud, and communicating only in sign language, for fun!)  My step dad gave mom equal space in their marriage.  My step mom was dedicated to keeping her family together, as her role of mom, she was a buffer between her kids and step kids and their dad, who was often frightening and out of control of his rage.  I see that as feminism in its strength.  She had choices and she made them differently than many would, but in the way she saw best to protect her kids. 
Do you think feminism and spirituality are related, or have nothing to do with one another? 
I don’t see those as related.  I don’t relate to feminism as a spirituality, but I do believe women are related to the universe differently than men are. 
What do you do and what encouraged you to get into your line of work?
I spent 28 years as a flight attendant.  I always dreamed of it and stumbled into it when I quit college after 3-1/2 years.  It became a perfect framework for raising my own kids.  It afforded me most summers and many holidays at home, more than half the month in days off work, and the schedule that allowed for John and me to be the ones raising our kids for the vast majority of their days, with little need for a nanny.
Once Ian had graduated high school I took the leap of faith of leaving that job for one that would challenge my mind more.  All (and I do mean ALL) of my flight attendant friends thought I was crazy for leaving a job that had reasonable pay and gave me such free time.  But I craved more.  The only reason not to leave was fear, so I knew I had to model that bravery, and go.  Now I am a convention services manager at Gaylord and fight every day to acquire the skills I need to continue moving forward.  It’s a great challenge, and it’s terrifying, and I have no regrets about my choice.   I was fortunate that John supported me fully in making the choice, never considering the financial impact as a reason to stay put.  He always put my happiness first.
What spiritual habits//practices//routines do you incorporate into your life?  How do you bring spirituality to your family life?
One of my great regrets is that we did not have a good stable spiritual routine or practice while our kids were growing up. My aversion to religion blocked me from recognizing my spirituality, and from sharing that with my kids.
Do you want your children to have the same religious experience that you did as a child?
Definitely NOT.  My mom and step dad were “Unitarian”.  We went to church sometimes, but I always had a weird feeling about it.  My dad shocked me once when I was a teenager by saying in reference to our family, “We, as Christians, believe…”  I had never once heard any religious reference from him whatsoever prior to that.  We never went to church with dad, and only said prayers at my grandparents’ house.  My religious experience growing up was never a comfort to me, and wasn’t ever even clear to me.  I found it frightening, confusing and embarrassing.  I knew that most of the families around us were “Christian”, and we were not, but I didn’t really know what we were. 
 I know I have always had an opposition to religion.  I have always known that the various religions have different dogmas, and that, in and of itself proves to me that there can be no one true religion.  For this reason, I distrust “Religion” that teaches theirs is the truth and the way.  And all of this resulted in me avoiding spirituality altogether, which I regret now for my kids’ sake.   I didn’t realize until much later on that I am a very spiritual person, just not religious, and that I think those two are different, and I wish I could have shared that with my kids when they were young.  I do now represent that to my kids, but I wish I had had the presence and courage to go there when they were little.
What is the difference between religion and spirituality?
Spirituality is in our souls.  Religion is prescribed.  Spirituality is the way we relate to the universe, how we feel ourselves part of a larger importance.  Religion is a set of rules, in my opinion, designed to control people and their behavior based on fear.
What do you think happens when we die?
I really wonder.  I like to believe that our souls fragment and remain somehow.  I like to believe that my loved ones are still with me, and that I can remain with my loved ones when I pass.  I like to believe that our souls can still be connected, even when one dies.
How do you talk to your kids about the big questions?
If it’s a difficult topic, I stumble along and force myself to say what I’m feeling.  I tell them they don’t have to talk if they don’t want to, but they do need to listen.  I always try to just be honest about my views on subjects I find important.  I want my kids to develop their own sets of beliefs, and I want them to know mine.  I always try to think about bringing my information from a place of loving them endlessly and wanting to teach them everything.  I want to honor their truth at the same time I’m providing mine.