Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Being a Mummy

Being someone's mummy is scary stuff!
(I have forty years experience.)

I was recently asked for my best advice on Motherhood.
It's in an essay I wrote years ago called—

Colonial woman dipping candles.

Wax Strong

Into the hot wax; out of the hot wax. Into the hot wax; out of the hot wax. I watched as the woman dipped her candles. She held a dowel with ten pieces of string looped over it, and repeatedly lowered it into a vat of melted wax.


The first time it looked like nothing stuck to the strings at all. Another dip, and they still looked clean. Patiently, the woman dunked them again, and again, and eventually I could see a film of wax building. Time after time the thin layers adhered to each other, and slowly the strings began to look like candles.

After countless dips.

I've watched other women engaged in an old-fashioned art that also involves patience and repetition. It is mothering. Time after time they dip their kids in character building experiences—"Say Please," "Thank you," "I'm sorry;" share your toys; pick up your coat; mind your dad; love your brother; don't whine; feed the dog; say your prayers—over and over again, the same admonitions. At first it seems nothing is sticking. The kids are still the same. But eventually they begin to wax strong.

A work of art!

Each experience a child has in character building is like one more dip of the candle.
It is repetitious, it can become wearisome.
But it's worth it.

Art by William Adolphe Bouguereau

"Be not weary in well doing,
for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.
For out of small things proceedeth that which is great."
---D&C 64:33

It's a good season for Mummies.
Treat yourself!


Destri said...

I have wondered before what your advice would be on the matter, so this is perfect!

Yesterday I fell asleep with my boy for a nap. As I was dosing my mouth fell open. I felt him gently close it then pat my head.
I instantly felt a little better about my parenting, never mind the tantrum in the store an hour earlier!
Love this post, like so much.

J, K, L, and D said...

Thank you for writing gives me courage & hope for the future. :)

Teresa said...

Always love your posts - thanks for being an inspiration to both me & my daughers!

Raejean said...

I love the analogy! It takes time to see the results of our efforts. Seeing the effects takes patients and constant care.

Diane said...

Great comparison. Now I'm watching my daughters form their own "candles" the same way. It's rewarding to watch.

mama jo said...

love it...and when the candles are finished, they glow when they are lit!

craigandlissa said...

I love, love, love this analogy! Thank you so much for blogging. I am a retired mother of 5 who's children and grandchildren have moved far away this past year. So between the empty nest AND the empty arms, I am learning to be a long distance mom and grama. It has been brutal but I'm S-L-O-W-L-Y getting there! Thanks so much for all you do! It is inspires me and lightens my heart. HUGS!

HandiGrammi said...

Travelin Oma, you are my role model

Perfecting my long-distance relationship with the granadkiddos over the years and just now blogging some pointers to others in the same position. Trying to add maximum "value added" (you are over-the-top wonderful with this) but also have some shopping suggestions for kiddos under 8. Amazon links won't support my own gifting-of-books habit (95% of proceeds from now thru November going to UNICEF--remember taking those boxes around when trick-or-treating?)...

HandiGrammi said...


That website is

(and book suggestions are tried and true and most likely available at a local library)