Stay With Me, Mama

I recently got a chance to go to the movie “Into the Woods,” which I had seen on the stage as a teenager. This time, I saw it in a WHOLE new way.

What got me this time was Meryl Streep’s performance of “Stay With Me,” a song from a mother to a child (Rapunzel) who wants to grow up. The mother, the witch, says to her growing daughter, don’t grow up, stay with me. Okay. We all feel this way sometimes, but there is so much going on here.

First, are you a mother who loves her child? Check. Listen to this song with that in mind, and maybe you’ll see why I had tears just flowing down my face. I TOTALLY feel this way, ALL THE TIME. If I could just record this moment…If I could touch skin that felt like this in 20 years so I could remember how these babies were. If I could bottle the smell of this little head…You get the idea.

However, there’s a hitch to this song. The witch is a mother who is so overprotective she puts her kid in a tower and can’t let her grow up.

As a mother, you are constantly undergoing pulls in different directions. Are you being kind enough/creating enough structure, are you doing the right thing by working/staying at home, are you nursing long enough/not nursing long enough, and on and on.

Articles about mommy wars FEED this. People who INSIST that every parenting decision MUST be their way FEED this. Every mother experiences guilt, worry, anxiety, and much of it is over stuff that you won’t remember next year.

What makes this song so amazing to me is that it shows that pull, but it also shows someone who has no understanding that they have gone too far. You identify with that mother’s feelings, but what makes her a witch is that she is selfish with her child’s love. She wants to be everything for her daughter, and no one can be that.

My message to you today is this. Tune it all out. It doesn’t matter if you are feeding with formula, breast, baby food, baby led weaning, co-sleeping or strictly crib. What MATTERS. REALLY MATTERS. Is that you are a loving parent who is nurturing your child. You can’t be everything. No one can. And that makes you human and truly wonderful. And THAT is all your child needs.

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You make ALL the difference.