the inner work of mothering

Jan 26, 2012

Mothering is hard. The daily stuff of feeding, washing, helping, teaching, reminding, buttoning up, scrubbing down, tucking in, all of that is hard in that there is never an end. There is always another need. Always another mouth that needs wiped, belly that needs filled, and smile that needs shared. Always. But it is a do-able hard.

Then there is the other part of mothering. The part that is really hard. The inner-part of mothering that is consumed with the hearts of our children. This part of mothering is concerned with the foundations of our children’s souls. Do they know, absolutely know and depend upon the fact that they are children of God? Do they feel competent in their daily lives? Can they push themselves to do hard things? Do they have confidence to work for their dreams? Do they have a passion for something? Is the something good? Do they trust me enough to share their deepest fears? Do they trust their inner knowing enough to get out of and away from unhealthy relationships? Can they keep on keepin’ on? Do they recognize truth and let it be the guiding force in their lives? Do they love liberty? Do they treat others as children of God? Do they have courage? Do they cherish family? Do they know the worth of their own soul?

These are the questions that are the hard work of mothering. They require more of me than I think I have. They require me to give my most nurturing self to their hearts, to be a vessel for God’s truth to flow into them and to not block the path of His love into their lives.

And that is hard. Sometimes the daily jobs get in the way of the inner-working jobs because I can keep myself busy all day long attending to the bellies and the faces and the buttons. But if I do not attend to the soul, then I have not mothered deeply enough…and all of us miss out. Because the inner-work of mothering is not only the hardest, it is also the part that sustains us and feeds us. It is the part that brings us joy deep-down in our little toes.

May I always remember.

Related Posts


  1. Shannon Steffler

    I needed to hear this :-)

    • tracy


      I think we all need to be reminded of our real power as mothers…we are laying the foundation for another soul and while we are not solely responsible, we are hugely influential. Hugely.

  2. Anne

    Posts about mothering always make me uncomfortable so I usually don’t comment. I look back and think I nearly ruined 5 lives. I’m so grateful someone up above was looking out for my children, because I didn’t know how to. Too busy with my own drama. . . .

    • tracy

      You gave us so many, many good things. I am grateful for your mothering and especially grateful we can be such good friends now!

  3. I love you, Tracy!

    • tracy

      I love you right back, Miss Mary!

  4. Sheri Black

    Exactly HOW do you do all that nurturing of their hearts and inner vessels?

    • tracy

      Sheri, it is a daily journey for me to learn how to mother.

      Some of my favorite reads about this are The Arbinger Institute books and Haim Ginott’s work. I find as I come to know who we really are as God’s children, it is easier for me to treat them as such.

      • Sheri Black

        Thank you! I love those books as well. I guess I need to put into practice more of what I have learned from them.