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On the Enduring Blessings of Motherhood

Kathryn E. Livingston (Harjot Kaur)

Recently, a friend was worrying because she wanted to be doing many things, but her newborn baby was requiring her full attention and she knew that she needed to fully surrender.

This wise mother knew from the start that there was nothing more important than her baby. Yet sometimes, even when we intuitively know that our baby is our number one priority, we’re drawn away to care for other needs; cleaning the house, meeting a deadline at work, or making dinner are things that need to be taken care of, baby or not.

When my children were young (they are now young adults) I, too, struggled with the balance of time, like so many mothers. I did not practice yoga back then and didn’t have many tools to cope with my frustration. Although I gave my children as much time and love as I could, I often felt conflicted and stressed out, torn between work and family.

Even with the tools of yoga, motherhood is challenging. I used to joke that every parent should be required to study yoga, but really, it’s not a joke. If every mother and father studied the five sutras of the Aquarian Age, it would be a different world, indeed.

As my children have grown, it’s been a bit of a surprise for me to learn how much they still look to me for care. True enough, my older children don’t need me to give them baths, check their homework, or help them make their beds, but they do continue to seek advice, support, and love.

Although they lead separate lives, and two of my three sons live in a different city than I (one even lived in Asia for nearly two years, far away from his New Jersey mother), there are times when they seek my counsel about romance, work, or their hopes and dreams for the future.

Often—just as when they were very young—this seeking comes when I’m in the middle of something I consider “very important.” But then, I recall the lessons I learned when they were babies, and I realize that giving them my full attention for a few moments, a few hours, a few days, or even longer, is not just my choice, it’s also my privilege and blessing.

Motherhood doesn’t end when a baby stops wearing diapers, or when a child learns to kick a ball, or when he or she leaves for college, or gets married. Yes, our roles change, but our prayers are still powerful, and our love is still vital. “Love is love,” as Yogi Bhajan said. 

New motherhood is celebrated and honored and rightfully so, but motherhood passes through many seasons in life. Yogi Bhajan said, "By construction, the fulfillment of a woman is motherhood—and motherhood does not mean that she gets pregnant and delivers a baby. If you understand her total behavior, you will understand her motherhood. Her motherhood is service, her motherhood is sacrifice, her motherhood is relationship. When she knows motherhood, she is fulfilled.”

Service, sacrifice, and fulfillment are enduring aspects of motherhood. Perhaps that explains why, when I talk with my 24-year-old son, I feel the same love that I felt when he was three. The flower of motherhood never ceases to blossom.

Harjot Kaur (Kathryn E. Livingston) is the author of the memoir, Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman’s Quest for Balance, Strength and Inner Peace, a story of transformation through yoga. A Kundalini Yoga teacher at Aquarian Yoga Center in Montclair, NJ and blogger for Spirit Voyage, Kathryn has been writing professionally for many years. She lives in Bogota, NJ with her husband and is the mother of three sons, 31, 26, and 24. Follow her on twitter  or find her on Facebook