Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pseudo Mommy Blog Post

Before I get started, I'll just tell you that if reading about my mommy-ness will make you queasy, you might want to skip this post. I've been off work this week. Usually when I'm off work that means lots of time together as a family. This week, Ryan has been splitting wood so it has mostly been the boys and me hanging out. We've had a great time. Kids can be so frustrating and challenging and trying and whiny and messy. But also really fun and funny. Yesterday Owen and I were playing a game and he looked at me and said, "Mommy, you're my friend."

There is nothing like being a mother. It can be so embarrassing and rewarding at the same time. We are potty training Owen and he has been doing so great. Dry for two whole days/nights. This afternoon, we were at Target and he started yelling, "I'M PEEING!! I'M PEEING!!" (which for some reason is what he yells when he has to pee, he was not actually peeing). I mean, I was really proud of him for telling us he needed to go even when we were out of the house, but it's so embarrassing to have everyone looking at you and thinking that your kid is actually peeing all over the floor or that you've taught him to announce his bodily functions. Ha.

As I was thinking about this week, I was thinking of what it must be like to be home with your kids all the time. I love when I get to spend more time with them, but I also love that I work and do things on my own. This got me thinking about some things I read shortly after Luke was born. It was actually from a book I purchased as gift for my mom, but after I read it I kept it and got her something else. Two things that have shaped my ideas of motherhood were in this book. Here is the first:

In the end did I find the secret, and it was this: There is no one secret way to be a "good" mother. Each of us has to invent motherhood for herself and invent it over and over and over as we move forward through it. We can find the common threads of motherhood from talking to each other, but everyone is different. Each child is different, and we are different with each child, just as life is different for each child. No one explains how to do it. Each of us must figure it out for ourselves.

- Frances Wells Burck, Mothers Talking

This is so, so true. There are so many different ways to be a good mother and we have to find what works for ourselves and our families. Full-time moms, working moms, etc., etc., we all have to figure it out for ourselves. I'm doing the best I can and I just pray that God will make up for my shortcomings.

But there was another thing in the book I was thinking about. It's one of those things that once I read it I've heard it many, many times in my head. I knew the feeling, but sometimes other people can put feelings into words so much better than I could ever hope to:
"We're taking a survey," she says, half joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?" "It will change your life," I say carefully. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes: That the physical wounds of childbearing heal, but that becoming a mother will leave an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable.
I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going to an important business meeting, and she will think about her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her child is all right.
However decisive she may be in the office, she will second guess herself constantly as a mother. She will never feel the same about herself. That her life will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years--not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her children accomplish theirs.
- Dale Hanson Bourke, in Everyday Miracles

Being a mom is only part of who I am, but it really did derail my life. Oh well. I didn't really want my life to be on the rails anyway. Much better to be able to play cowboys and cowgirls or Candy Land or Legos or taking-a-trip-to-the-high-mountains whenever the mood strikes. I will never feel the same about myself as I did before, but I have a whole new purpose and perspective that I like a lot better.

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