Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Responsibility













When I was young, hell, even when I was in my twenties, I was told that I wasn't responsible. I struggled through childhood with anxiety, depression and, frankly, a highly creative and acute mind. Whatever my diagnosis would have been it probably wouldn't have been right (It was the 70's) and I was left to deal with the perception and the labeling that I was "hyper", "irresponsible" and even "unreliable". I heard that. I heard it loud and clear. And though I fought to disprove it, I believed it long into my twenties until I started to truly differentiate myself, prove myself in a world that required that I follow through, finish things on time, colour in the lines. I spent so much time and energy thinking about responsibility...trying to take it, hoping people would see it in me.

And now I have too much.


By the time I was 27, I was married and pregnant and had more responsibility than I new what to do with. In a year, I had gained responsibility for not only myself but TWO other beings. And it was crippling. I was terrified of losing my husband (to a drunk driver, a red ant attack...anything!) and overcome by the responsibility of caring for a child.

I have always wanted children, always wanted to be a mom. It was a plan of mine to make sure I had children before I was 30 because I wanted to be young and fun and full of energy. I had a picture, a vision, of what motherhood would be like. I rushed to get married, rushed to get pregnant, rushed to create the picture of family and normalcy that I wanted to be in the middle of. And when my first child was born I realized how different the reality was.


I spent the first three months of pregnancy wishing I wasn't pregnant. I spent the first two years of my first child's life, wondering if I had made the right decision. I wasn't the fun, energetic mom that I thought I would be. I was young, but I was tired, and terribly anxious, I was depressed and scared and I felt alone in those feelings. I felt judged for those feelings. I felt like it wasn't OK to be bored at home with my beautiful baby. I felt that it wasn't OK to want to get away by myself every second that I possibly could, to dream of getting in my car and just driving far far away.

I have spent most of my thirties coming to grips with the weight of the responsibility of motherhood: learning to accept what I can and let go of the rest. Now, I can enjoy a little more, relax, let loose. But I am sad. I mourn for the those baby days those days I wished away, couldn't get through quick enough. That is the true cruelty of motherhood: that by the time you figure it out, it is over.

3 comments:

Motherhood Bites said...

Wow, this made me cry, as I am back in tose days. The too tired to be nice to anyone days.

I watch my smallest child grow, and sometimes feel anxious and impatient. I stop to remind my self, that I will not be doing this again, and to enjoy each moment of her little days. But sometimes it's hard to do that, somedays I just don't. I just try to get through it. I love her more than anything, the sight of her makes me want to burst with love, but....

I also think back to the feelings this brought up for me with my two older children. They were so close in age I had to be on auto-pilot most of the time, organized to a fault. My house was always tidy , the kids always clean, but there was always something missing.

We wish and we wait, I guess that is just it. You said it, the cruelty of motherhood.

The Mother Hood said...

We need to be kind to ourselves, with out judgment. We need to remember that we are doing the best we can, and when aren't...we know it. We don't need to hit ourselves over the head and we certainly don't need others to do it for us. There is nothing wrong with remembering and reminding ourselves but then let it be OK. I read a lot of Thich Nhat Han when I was sick and frankly, it helped with mothering more than anything.

The Dani Lama said...

Isn't it strange that at a time in your life when you're surrounded by people, people you desperately, almost sickeningly love, people you wanted, sought, and dreamt of, you find yourself lonely and separate.

Thanks for this post.