Recently, I have had several dreams in which earthworms were prominent characters. Not exactly an animal totem one dreams of having. So I looked up the symbolic meaning of earthworms, and was presented with the idea that earthworms can represent seeing only one aspect, the negative, associated with a person or situation.
Wow, seeing only one aspect of a situation or person, the negative- sounds like a synopsis of stepmothering.
Barbara Waterman has written a book about motherhood from the perspective of stepmothers, adoptive, and foster mothers. And, she makes an excellent point. Seldom are these mothers, especially stepmothers, included in typical motherhood rites. There is no shower or celebration for a stepmother. Heck, forget the shower or celebration, there is usually barely an acknowledgment that a woman will be stepping into a mothering role when she becomes a stepmother. If there is any acknowledgment at all, the discussions are usually centered on the stepmother’s shortcomings and failures.
Stepmother are not welcomed into the circle of motherhood. We are usually seen as the interlopers, the ones who could not possibly understand mothering (especially if we do not have children of our own). We stand on the periphery- engaged in our stepchildren’s lives, often highly responsible for certain aspects of these children’s well-being, but we are never invited to the party of motherhood.
We, as stepmothers, are never held in the lofty vision of others as mothers are. And, to be honest, those who have been blessed with the status of “mother” are often the least welcoming to our presence. I have had several friends who are stepmothers, who spent years of their lives caring for their stepchildren, only to be told time and again that they did not understand because they were not mothers.
Below is a picture I created in relation to this energy:
In the picture, we see the large, exciting arrow pointing to the “Big Tent”, the circus and celebration of Motherhood! (the state we encourage all women to enter). Hearts and love abound. But, wait- those hearts seem to be sitting upon a fence with stakes barring entry into the Big Show. A ticket is required. Oh, and to enter the Big Tent, tickets are needed, but the tickets are only for REAL mothers.
And, there I am, the little earthworm on the road. Here I had been thinking I was doing a good job “mothering” children that were not mine. But, the clique of motherhood is at once universal and highly selective. Caring for children is not enough to punch your ticket. You have to be a REAL mother to gain entrance.