It doesn’t take getting pregnant for me to appreciate my mum. I always have, often quietly, thinking about how she put up with me, let alone my two older siblings.
Now I’m becoming a mini-her, a mum! Me! The anxiety comes and goes and I don’t think my brain has fully digested the magnitude of the situation as quickly as my body has.
I feel like I’m entering a new realm where women judge eachother a thousand times more harshly than they do on a daily basis. I’ll admit I’ve frowned and mumbled under my breath about people’s parenting styles and now I’ll be on the receiving end! Aaah!
I feel like everyone (and their mother) has this view of what, for lack of a better word, the ‘perfect’ mother should be. It being Mother’s Day this weekend the media’s been in mother advice overdrive. I read an interesting article last week about how the perfect mother doesn’t exist. She appeared to despise the ‘natural’ way of parenting that many mothers have opted to adopt. While I didn’t agree with all of the author’s points of view, I found it encouraging. Something that stuck out to me is the fact that at the end of the day, we all have choices. Those that choose to stay home, those that choose to have careers, those that choose to have an epidural, those that choose to breastfeed, those that choose to use nappies (cloth diapers) and the list of choices goes on. Mayim Bialik of Blossom fame, now Big Bang Theory phenom, has written a book about attachment and described on the View how she and her husband sleep with her kids and don’t have them on a timeline (i.e. when to sleep, eat, etc). Again, it’s her choice. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. I’m fully aware of my ability to choose and will use and take advantage of it to the fullest!
But there’s another issue of concern to me. ME. I’ve thought about if I’ll still be myself. People expect you to devote your entire life (minute, hour, day, week, month, year after year after year after year until 18) to your kid, just like you do to your husband/marriage. I, for one, am a little freaked out by this concept. Who knows, I might smother my child so much they’ll decide to be emancipated at 14, but I doubt it, that’s not me. I’m a pretty independent person who is very much in touch with who I am-A fun, loving, free spirit! (as my brother likes to say) A co-worker once grimaced at me and said “wow, it’s good that you still have time for your friends even if you’re married”. I wonder what she’d think now that I’m going to have a child. I value my relationships and friendships a great deal. Loyalty is a character trait that I take very seriously.
But, back to me. Putting yourself first is not selfish, it’s human, and I think as Michelle Obama put it “practical”. I believe that if I look out for myself, I’m a lot more aware (spiritually) of my being and how I affect others. In turn, I’m a better friend, wife, sister and co-worker. Trying to be ‘perfect’ only results in resentment, which is not fair. It’s all about balance.
I don’t want my identity to end with parent. If there’s something that I quietly observed from my mum is that she wasn’t/isn’t just my mum. She’s a person. She’s a great friend, a great sister, a great aunt, a great daughter, a great wife. She’s a leader and an advocate. She’s caring, compassionate and loyal. She’s adventurous, a goal getter and a fighter, and she’s a lot cooler than I think I ever gave her credit for.
I’ve been so lucky to have been brought up by some great mother figures-my aunts, my cousins, my sister. And I hope to exercise my parenting in the stoic way that each of them have. With an added dose of patience, I know I’m definitely going to need that.
Wish me luck!
To all the fabulous, beautiful, strong, patient, loving and wonderful mummies and mummies-to-be out there, Happy Mother’s Day!
If we’re for us, no one can be against us!