Monday, May 12, 2008

What's Going On?

Something seems to be going on. Some small shift in my world, and it feels like some small shift in the larger world. Why are we talking about this now? About the dirty, hard, gritty reality of motherhood? Why do we feel compelled to say out loud what we've kept hidden for so long from our friends, our partners, or families?

What kind of mother writes these things? What kind of mother does that make me? 

I'm tired of hiding behind a false image, quite frankly, this false idol of "the Mother." It makes me angry that I have to. Who made these rules? We subjugate ourselves to this idea that we are these glorious, untouchable beings who, even at our absolute worst as parents, have to be placed firmly on a pedestal and worshipped. 

Screw that! 

I'm an incomplete, flawed, and scarred human being. Just like my husband. Just like my co-workers. Just like my mother. Just like you. 

When I was a teenager my mom told me that she loved me more than anything, and she'd throw herself in front of a bus to save me, but that if she had it to do all over again, she wouldn't have had kids. You're shocked! What kind of mother would say that to her child!!!!!

I was shocked too. Before I became a mother. But, my mother loves me, and she did me an incredible service that day. She modeled for me the complexity and conflict of being a mother. She gave me the strength to know that my life has value, as her's did, and does, with or without children. 

I'm angry. I'm pissed off that once I've had a child I am bound by these silent rules. I'm not allowed to express dissatisfaction. I'm not allowed to be unfulfilled. I'm not allowed to want more from my life than my family. 

I have big dreams. Wild, crazy, mad dreams for myself. Should I pretend I don't? Should I internalize everything I hope for myself so that my children don't suspect they don't "complete me?" No! 

What kind of mother do I want my children not only to have, but to see. The kind of woman who gives up everything for other people? Or the kind of woman who loves herself as much as she loves her kids?

It's pretty goddamn clear to me. And I'm unapologetic. 

I'm carving out a life for myself, come Hell or high water. Just as I hope my children will. And if the life they find themselves in, or if the life they choose for themselves is not every little bit of everything they hoped it would be, I hope they have the courage to find their voice and shout it out. And I'll be there cheering them on!

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