Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Truth #2: I am not the greatest mother...

Yes, I’ve said it, and I am really not afraid to admit this. I could be so much better than I am. My children are a reflection of the kind of mother that I am. They are not the little angels that everyone says they are to be. That’s them on a good day, which is not every day. Fact is, I lack patience, I yell too much and I give in way too easy. There are days when I just want to close myself in my room and cry. They drive me to want to rip all my hair out and throw myself off our balcony. I suppose it’s a good thing that I settle for a cigarette instead.

Being a mother is damn hard – I was told this before I had children but never really knew it until they arrived. My first child was especially tough. I admit that there are still times when I resent her. It’s such a terrible thing to say, but I believe my life stopped the moment she was born. And two years down the line, it went in reverse when the second one came along.

Don’t get me wrong; I cannot now imagine my life without my kids. I love them more than anything, though sometimes I don’t like them very much. I am not one of those moms whose whole reason for living is children. I have made my contribution to the human race and it stops here. I don’t understand those women whose children are their sole purpose for living. I remember once watching an episode on Oprah where they discussed working moms vs stay-at-home moms. The working moms seemed much more in touch with reality than the stay-at-home ones. Now, I am not trying to put down the stay-at-home moms because I am one myself. But I don’t believe the notion that children are their lives. I just don’t. I think it’s a load of shit. You can’t define your life through the existence of others. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

I refuse to be categorized as a mother because there are so many images that we are programmed to imagine a mother to be. And I too admit that I am programmed in such a way. When I drop my kids off at kindergarten I keep my conversation with other mothers to a minimum. Because I don’t want to be associated with them. I am such a snob, I know.

Now, I know that with children lifestyle changes need to be made. I can’t go out and drink every night (not that I was ever a heavy party person). And I do need to schedule my time around my own kids’ schedules (which is fine). But sometimes, I look at moms around me and yes, I simply know that I don’t want to be that. As if they are of some other, possibly lower being than myself. And for the record, that is not what I am trying to imply at all. All that I am saying is that I don’t want to be the mother that gushes and smothers her child all the time. I don’t want to be the mother that wears khakis and cardigans. I don’t want to be the mother that slaves in the kitchen, drinks tea, and organizes play-dates with their other friends’ children. If your kids want to come over and play that’s fine – let’s just not make it a ‘play-date’. The term is so exclusive: ‘Susie and I have arranged a play-date with Mikey and little Ben,’ or, ‘I can’t meet with you for coffee this afternoon because Betsy has a play-date’. Ugh, give me a break.

I am quite happy to say that I am absolutely elated when I tell a stranger that I am a mother and they don’t believe me. I know that they look at me and think, ‘hoodie, ripped jeans, converse and the just-got-out-of-bed-threw-hair-in-a-ponytail kinda do. How can she be a mother?!’ Even last week, I came to the kindergarten to pick up the girls one day and one of the new teachers looked at me and said, ‘You, you’re a mother?!’ She was completely confused. I loved it!

Now, when I think of it, it’s not so much that I am necessarily a bad mom, I am just fighting to be me first. I hope that won’t have too bad of an affect on my kids. On the contrary, I hope it will teach them to put themselves first (not in the selfish bad kind of way) but that they will think before they conform to what society might deem a norm. It’s bad that we label people, put them in boxes (I do it all the time – I just don’t want to be stuffed in one myself).

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