Monday, June 16, 2008

Being a Mom

You know, I never wanted to be known only as a mom. I promised myself when I had children that I would still be me, stay true to who I thought I was, and not turn into one of those pinched faced women who gossip over back fences. No, not me. I was going to stay cool, stay hip, stay young and with it...well as long as my hips stayed young that is. I never wanted the first thing that sprung to mind when people asked about me, was my children, but my children are always the first thing that comes into my head when someone asks about me.

It's funny really. I honestly fought the notion that being a mom would define me, but it has. It permeates my life, my artwork, my friendships, it is who I am, who I've become. Of course I still fight it sometimes, struggle against giving in to it, yet at the same time I can be nothing else if I am not a mom. Being a mother has made me who I am, which is not always good, and never ever perfect. It has left me feeling more human than I think anything else could.

I was a student once, a thinking, struggling student, who was hungry to learn. And at this same time I was still a mother. I remember the feeling I got when I was in University, and the students whom I was surrounded by were at least 10 yrs younger. I felt nearly invisible most of the time, unimportant, like my motherhood gave them license to feel my thoughts were no longer as valuable. I think that is when I probably clung most desperately to being a mother, when I realized what being a mother meant to my life.

I still don't want to be the kind of mom who has stopped her own life in lieu of her children's. I still want to feel like a woman, but I guess that it can no longer mean feeling like a woman without children. This can be terrifying some days. It's been so long I can't remember what I felt like when it was just me. When all I had to think about was what I needed or wanted. There are days when I long to really, truly remember those moments, and to have them again. But of course this would mean I was not a mother, and I can't picture that. For, I am a mother.

Being a mother, is nothing like I could ever have imagined. It is much harder, more joyous, way scarier than I could ever have been prepared for. Soon I will have spent more than half my life being a mother, more of my memories will be of my children, than of my youth.

Those early memories will fade, new ones will come, and in the end what I think about most is what it means for me, to be a mom. My youthful thoughts have been replaced. Now I think about how age, and experience has changed my vision of motherhood. How motherhood envelopes one's life, whether you want it to, or expect it to. I think about what little thought I had given to being a mother before I became one, and now being a mom I finally realize how it changes your life forever. For me, it has become who I am, rather than what I am.


Anonymous said...

It is funny, those who are not Mom's long to be one, and those who are ,seem to, long for the life before motherhood. Ask yourself would life be lonely without children? Would you be fulfilled and complete? Children bring more of ourselves out than we want to admit, both good and bad.
When the children are gone , and you are an empty nester, you will find that person you are looking for, deep inside. You say"MOM", is what defines you, so embrace it, because before you know it , the children will be grown and gone, and you will wish you had them back. I know....

MotherhoodByters said...

Isn't that true. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

I am finally coming to terms with being able to embrace the "new" definition of myself, letting go of my old images of what motherhood was and enjoying it, complaining about it on my own's good. It feels really good, to keep growing as a human being, and a mother.

I often wonder what it will be like when the days, of homework, lunches, and finger paints will be over. We long for it to get easier or to end (sometimes), but in all reality I'm sure it will be one of the hardest things we will experience as moms.

Again, thank you for your comments, hope you'll continue to read.