From the moment I knew I’d write you a letter, I’ve pondered on what I could say that would be both encouraging and useful to you. After a couple weeks of contemplation I’ve settled on two things:
First, motherhood is at its best when kept simple.
Rhythm and ritual are grounding ways to restore the home back to the values you hold for yourself and family. A bowl of fruit has been that grounding force in our home since the children were little. A simple way to bring peace and presence to the chaos of everyday life.
Second, motherhood offers a woman a special gift. The insight and ability to engage in deep work in a world that prefers what’s shallow, fast, fleeting.
A woman creates a baby, but born with it is a natural instinct that when tuned into allows a mother to view work quite differently. Busy work, that perpetuates decision fatigue, and anxiety can be put to rest in favor of work that produces real fruit.
When a woman looks at her work, in the home and out in the community, from this new vantage point she is more capable to know when to say yes, and when to say no. When she makes a commitment she shows up 100% ready to do the work, and that takes other people by surprise. Our work becomes more equitable, inclusive, innovative and effective. We become what we always knew we could be.
We thank our baby, we acknowledge ourselves.
This work deters the right people, as hard as that can be-let them go, but it attracts the right people, every time-cling to them. Night feedings, soothing a baby, resting your body, and connecting intimately with those who love you provides space for silence and solitude.
Say hello to the resistance to this stillness so that you don’t hold onto it too tightly. Allow it to rise up in you so that it can flow up and out, replacing itself with strength and never ending love.
In moments when you notice your strength isn’t what the world has defined as power the people around you will recognize it and call it what it really is: joy and zeal, the very things the world most needs right now.
The world is slowly waking up, and mothers know the lullaby.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist