Museum of Motherhood

*Dr Mama* by Amber Kinser for MamaBlogger365 – Love Rollercoaster

(As part of our ongoing MamaBlogger365 initiative, *Dr. Mama* writes each Thursday. You can find out more about the Museum Of Motherhood and our capital campaign by going to www.MotherhoodMuseum.org website and clicking on the flash page for the full vision. Or, log on and register a mother you love today by making a donation in her name. We’ll send her a beautiful letter and place her name on our ‘Friends of the Museum Page’ to acknowledge your gift. Help help us reach our goal of a physical structure in 2011. Also join us this MAY 23-25 in NYC for our International Conference on Mothers. Find out more at MAMA Expo or submit to present at M.O.M. Conference. Thanks Much)

I was reading a book last night by Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are, a book about ‘”cultivating fearlessness and awakening a compassionate heart.”  In it, she talks about being present in the current moment and how central it is to begin content in life.  It struck me that this core Buddhist, yogic idea has particular salience for mothers.  It is very difficult as a mom to be in this moment, right here and right now with our kids, when one of our primary goals is to help them sculpt identities and carve experiences out of life that will serve them well later.

Ohio Players - Honey Album, 'Roller Coaster Of Love'

We are aiming to set them up in life to prosper, whatever that might mean for different families.  So we do acutely feel the heaviness of individual moments in light of how they might impact later ones.  And, on its own, this is probably good practice.  It prompts us to think through a scathing critique sometimes so that we can refashion it to be a constructive one instead, it accepts that fact that sometimes children cling to a single phrase or gesture for years and center it in their self understanding (this part we know because many of us can recite that thing our own parent said, that phrase we have clung to for years that we used as helpful or hurtful in our own lives).

But I think it’s exceptionally difficult for mothers to be right here, right now, where the children are or where we ourselves are without always feeling the magnitude of the future.  This difficulty is not surprising given that many of us live in cultures that root the outcomes of individuals in the activity of the mother.  Mothers are ascribed near-total culpability in how their children turn out.  Even when we know for a fact that we are hardly the only influence in a child’s life, and at various stages not even the primary one, we still feel the enormity of the task.

But in many ways, we would greatly benefit in allowing a day to just be what it is, and release ourselves from the sometimes crushing burden of asking what does this moment portend. Besides, ‘this moment’ changes in the blink of an eye.  When I think of parenting my kids I always hear the song “Love Rollercoaster” in the background (done first by the Ohio Players in the seventies and then more recently by Red Hot Chili Peppers).  It has my mothering theme song for years.  The ride is unpredictable and suddenly shifting, high highs and low lows in a very short timespan.  I can neither predict nor control where we will be next.  Fighting and ill-will one day, crawling up in my bed to lay a head on my shoulder the next, aloof and apathetic the day after that (“rollercoaster…of love…rollercoaster…ooh hoo hoo hoo).

I work hard to avoid the trap of seeing any given moment as a snapshot of the whole relationship.  This is difficult of course when it’s a really dreadful moment (omg I can’t believe this is where we’ve come to in the relationship) or when it’s a really awesome moment (omg I’m so glad that we’re finally here in the relationship).  A moment is, quite often enough, exactly that, but a tiny part of the larger whole.  It doesn’t have to mean so stinking much all the time.  We can teach ourselves to become unattached to life’s moments, letting them come and go, feeling the joy and pain of them, without being hyper-invested in purging the negative ones from our lives or in clinging frantically to the positive ones, without accepting that we alone will determine how the kids turn out, without needing fun, joy, and laughter everyday to prove to ourselves that we’re doing OK as mothers.

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More on the Ohio Players


About M. Joy Rose

Woman, Mother, Human, Rocker, Educator, Activist Director; Museum of Motherhood President and Founder; MaMaPaLooZa Inc. a company by Women, Promoting (M)others for social, cultural and economic benefit. Dedicated to a more educated, more peaceful, more musical planet.


6 thoughts on “*Dr Mama* by Amber Kinser for MamaBlogger365 – Love Rollercoaster

  1. Dr. Mama, I am really impressed with the timing of your thoughts today. I have been thinking along these same lines, as snow days pile up and my work hours shrink. My kids are teens, but I have noticed they need as much presence, albeit different presence, now, than earlier in their careers as humans in my life. Yesterday my 13 year old daughter spent much of the day on homework, then watched a movie. She wanted to talk when she wanted to talk and other hours we were just bumping in to each other over the teapot. The key for me, as I deflate the idea that every step I take, every decision I make will assure a positive outcome for my kids- AND as I stand as a Turned-On Woman in the face of teen age reviews of my behavior- I notice that the happy moments are heightened and the sucky moments diminished when I love them with out judgement. I see them as more than this temporary state of malaise or fury. I look at them and know that I have poured and will continue to pour a ceaseless and saturated tincture of LOVE on them, every single day and that- above any decision I make, any judgement I call I announce…that LOVE will be what they remember and live above all else. I was longing for the FUN snow days of my youth yesterday when my school teacher Mom would be with us, instead of at her job. I see that the times when I simply let myself do one thing at a time…one simple thing- either listening to someone bitch about a teacher, or stir up rice pudding, or fold wash- with out having a foot in another world, just being present- smoothes the transitions that can be burred with resistance. I will get my work done, but, today, I keep hearing Mary Oliver saying “My work is in Loving the World”. My kids are part of this World. Thank you for your thoughts today. I look forward to hearing more. Sincerely, Suzi Banks Baum

    Posted by suzi banks baum | February 3, 2011, 12:41
  2. Thanks Amber. A really good reminder and one that we should not only say to ourselves but mention to those around us. Living with a teenager I try to have a really short memory for the bad moments and know that as quickly as things go bad, they can just as quickly turn around to good. As always, I love reading what you have written. Keep it up!

    Posted by momscholar | February 3, 2011, 15:46
  3. @Suzi–thank you so much for your thought-full comments to my post. I loved your idea of doing “one thing at a time–one simple thing…without having a foot in another world” It’s a great image and such a complicated simple idea, no? I don’t have a lot of those moments but when I do it’s really a gift to myself. I do it sometimes when I’m cooking, and sometimes folding laundry. And, perhaps oddly, when i wash my hands during the day, I let that warm water run over my hands and i am present there with that sensual feeling, briefly, but several times a day. lovely.

    Posted by Dr. Mama | February 3, 2011, 22:05


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