I adore this statement by Erich Fromm:
The promised land (land is always a mother symbol) is described as “flowing with milk and honey”. Milk is the symbol of the first aspect of love, that of care and affirmation. Honey symbolizes the sweetness of life, the love for it and the happiness in being alive. Most mothers are capable of giving “milk”, but only a minority of giving “honey” too. In order to be able to give honey, a mother must not only be a “good mother”, but a happy person – and this aim is not achieved by many. The effect on the child can hardly be exaggerated. Mother’s love for life is as infectious as her anxiety is. Both attitudes have a deep effect on the child’s whole personality; one can distinguish indeed, among children – and adults – those who got only “milk” and those who got “milk and honey” – Erich Fromm, American Psychoanalyst
I was intensely inspired by the above quote before creating Milk & Honey. The child in this painting is well-loved, comfortable, pink in the face from play and affection. The mother – not only does she love the dickens out of her child, stay close with her, but she is also pursuing that which makes her a happy person. In this situation, the little bird represents that little gem inside the mother, her true calling, her desire for growing her own soul separate of anyone else’s.
There is a fine balance, I think, in knowing where it’s okay to draw the line with one aspect of life (“right now I’m going to take a break from playing, honey”), so that you can give some attention to the other aspect of your life – thus helping one to feel like more of a whole & balanced person. I spent much of my boys’ toddler years trying to work on this, trying to balance ‘play’ ~ making tents, cooking with fake food, driving little garbage trucks and tractors, pushing laughing babes around in baskets, building with legos, and generally covering the carpet with toys ~ and some time for me to read, write, draw and paint.
My burning question all through my boys’ baby years was “how do I know how much time to spend playing with my boys, versus how much time they need to just play on their own without me?” I’m talking BURNING. That question ruled my life, I asked everyone I was having a conversation with and I never could quite get the answer that I wanted. I remember asking my grandmother’s sister when we were chatting on the phone ~ she was about 86 years old at the time, and I hadn’t seen her since I was a tiny tot, but we were having a lovely conversation about mothering (she had 7 children). Her answer was “a little here, a little there”.
At some point, and right now I can’t think of where the seed for this came from, but I may have read it somewhere (surprising that I can’t remember the actual origin of the answer to my great burning question!) that I need only ‘look’ at my children to know if I am giving them enough of my time. I think, perhaps, this answer was a compilation of what I had heard/read and the answer that was already inside me. I believe we have the answers to our questions already inside us. Something spurred my epiphany and I can’t remember what.
Here is how it grew for me: We need only “look” into the faces of our children to know their story, to see if they are well fed, well rested, happy, healthy. Their little eyes and mouths will tell it all.
I have used that tool ever since, and my boys are now 8 and almost 10. I can, to this day, look into their faces and tell if they are tired, happy, coming down with something, or even if they are not getting enough water.
It seems logical for us to have burning questions throughout our lives, do you have one right now that maybe this community can help you with? Come over to the Facebook page and share ~ the community on the Facebook page is welcoming, engaging and all sorts of awesome.
“Even after so many years, and purchasing a few of your pieces, I still find so much joy in your art. I sometimes come to see your new pieces or look at the ones I have on my wall and feel my heart filling to the brim. Thank you so very much for sharing with all of us.” ~ A.K.
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Have a lovely day!
Love & Sincerely, Katie