Monday, July 12, 2004

who are these kids, and why are they calling me mom?

how do you get to be somebody's *mother*?

well, now i know how it happens, i just wonder how motherhood can progress to become your whole existence?...an existence that more often than we'd like is accompanied by bitterness and stress?...an existence that comes with a seeming lack of *self*?...

i have wrestled with this periodically since becoming a mother, and twice in the past few days it has come up in conversation with other people...this questioning of how you can be one person before kids, and quite a different (or perceived as such) after...where is it that *you* went?...and who is this person you have become?...

the obvious answer is you have kids...and when you have kids it necessitates a change of lifestyle, attitude, etc...natural progression, part of the process...

but when exactly did bitterness and being overworked and overwhelmed become a part of the equation for so many of us?...that it's almost what we have come to expect, come to accept as part of motherhood...and does being a mother have to mean a loss or prolonged placing on hold of *self*?...

certainly the sheer daily physical, mental, emotional, moral, and spiritual responsibility of being a mother can seemingly necessitate full time focus on something other than yourself...you can't be somebody's mother only part time...but does that mean you have to give up *self* in the process?...

no...you don't...it's possible to be a mother AND be your *self*...it's possible because it's a choice that we have made...and the great thing about choosing, is that there are always more options...always...we just have to give ourselves the permission to explore our options...

we have to give ourselves permission to ask the very basic question of what do you want?...in addition to being a mother, what do you want?...to do?...to be?...in life?

much easier said than done...because it's an admittance that there have been options all along...and perhaps, for many of us, we have not allowed ourselves to explore them...that this is a life that did not just happen, but rather one that was chosen...perhaps by not having made any choices at all along the way...

mothers are forever offering up choices to their children and family, but when do we give ourselves the opportunity to choose?...rarely, if ever...because when you're scraping by to get through the day, choice is just one more thing to *do*...

it's nearly an automatic assumption that when we become mothers we must accept the inevitable loss of, among many other things, *self*...that it's natural for personal identity to fall by the wayside...we can always come back to it, but right now my children need *me* more than i do...

unfortunately i bought into that notion, lock, stock, and barrel...

because i used to believe that my children would not benefit from my exploration of *self*...that it would detract from their development, that their needs would go unfulfilled...that the guilt would be too much for me to bear...and because of this, *mother* and *self* became mutually exclusive...

but i was wrong...wrong because the basic principle of survival tells us that we must secure the oxygen mask on our own faces before trying to assist someone else...i didn't learn how to do that...and i am just now realizing that it is not only okay, it is necessary...

and it has taken me this long to realize that being a mother isn't about what you have to give up...that it's simply, yet gloriously, one more facet of who we are...and is more about opportunity than sacrifice...that when we become mothers we don't sacrifice *self*, rather we accept the opportunity to add layers to, and move into deeper parts of our existing *self*...

i'm not suggesting that my parenting choices up till now were ill-conceived, quite the opposite in fact...i feel confident as a parent...i feel as though i'm finally reaching my stride...that each day now unfolds before me rather than enveloping me and leaving no room to breathe...but in order to have achieved that, i focused on myself as *mother* rather than *person*...and i am now realizing i could have, should have been doing both...

because while i want to be here and have consciously chosen this path, i have finally realized that i never applied the mask...that i have been assisting my children and family for years now without actually inhaling...or exhaling for that matter...

and now that i figured out what it is i want, outside of and in addition to being a stay at home, homeschooling mother of two, i am breathing for the first time in years...i am inhaling possibilities, and exhaling constraint and lack of drive...exhaling the idea that i *shouldn't*...

and by not only asking myself what it is that *i* want, but also then giving myself permission to pursue it, i can move on to fully becoming the person i was meant to be...i am a mother, and i am myself...

and i see people choosing their lives simply by not choosing at all...we spend so much time talking about what we don't want...what we don't like...what is not working...being stressed, bitter, and overworked in our acceptance of responsibility...and so little time actually asking ourselves what it is we do want...

(of course, that applies to all silly mortals...not just the mothers...)

and when you ask yourself what you want, what you love in addition to children and family, life opens up...because when you do what you love, the rest comes...it just does...

and now that i know what it is that i want, there is flow...real honest to goodness flow...the kind that lifts and energizes, the kind you read about...the kind that happens to happy, successful people...

the kind of flow that comes of getting what it is that you asked for, and having been able to ask for it in the first place...

x.

1 comment:

singlemama said...

you are amazing, inspiring and honest. thank you for being the wonderful, loving knowledgable person that you are. i have no idea what I would do without you in my life.

you have inspired me..today...tomorrow and always.
THANK YOU....