I am one half of a Co-Parenting Team. AND! I enjoy my time without my children. But not always. And in the beginning I would be sad when they weren’t with me. And sometimes I still get that way. It’s an odd conflict of emotions. And I think the guilt is driven by society and the assumption that a mother absolutely MUST be with her children at all times and when she is not she MUST feel guilty about it. Because once we become mothers we become droids of nurturing; giving and giving until we giveth no more.
We are women. We are individuals. We have an identity that includes being a mother but that isn’t all we are.
I chose to become a mother. I wanted to become a mother. I love being a mother.
Most days. Wink, wink.
Being a mother and staying a person is another near impossible balancing act. No matter our choices, we are heavily judged. Stay at home mother – judged. Working mother – judged. Mother who knows all – judged. Mother who lets her children keep a piece of themselves to themselves – judged. Mother who cooks EVERY meal at home using only the finest organic ingredients– judged. Mother who runs through the drive-through – judged. Mother who yells – judged. Mother who gives – judged. Mother who wears yoga pants – judged.
I think the majority of mothers commit fully when the first baby is born. And over time we realize we’ve lost our self. And most of us have to rediscover ourselves. And for most of us, it goes well. And for others, it does not. The desire for an identity push them into a different scene and the extremes take over; disconnectedness or even addiction. And then we judge. Again.
It’s impossible. There is no safe place. I don’t understand how one mother can judge another. We each know what it takes to be a mother. We know our limits. Why do we pretend we have it together all the time and judge those who drop the ball in front of us? Is it because it was in front of us? Because they didn’t have the ability to keep it together until they got in the car or back home?
I don’t understand it but I do it.
I recently judged a mother. I’ll admit it because we all do it. And if you pretend you don’t, may I suggest some self-reflection? Like, real deep self-reflection.
I wanted to have an intervention in the middle of the Department store with both MOTHER and DAUGHTER. This little girl was just running her mouth and I thought “oh shit, if that was my kid, I’d snatch her ass right out the store”.
And the mother, she wasn’t helping, she was yelling at her, clearly embarrassing her (making the kid more uncooperative) and then, as I came around the corner, she stopped but when I turned the corner again she started back up. Like the whole “if I can’t see you then you’re not there” thing.
This yelling I heard, it wasn’t the kind that is barely audible because you’re SO close to your kids’ ear you’re sharing the same breath. It’s the kind of yelling that is like… you’re in the living room and their in their bedroom. Daughter wanted shoes for her birthday, Mom said no “I’ve already gotten you Florence and the Machine tickets and I’m giving you my iPhone”. Points for not buying a new phone but still…..does she need an iPhone? And extra points for supporting her good taste in music.
But then, out of nowhere, the mother starts criticizing the girl’s complexion – “I can’t believe how much acne you have”. WHAT? I about lost it. The kid is 12? Maybe 13? Up until that point I was sorta on Team Mom even though the yelling was just asking for a defiant pre-teen response. Then I thought – “well damn mom, no wonder she is running her mouth like that”. You can NOT say shit like that to young person hitting puberty who is probably questioning their appearance daily as it changes. Murderess of self-esteem.
And then the mom bought the girl the shoes. And all I could do is stare. Like, really?
She bought her the shoes because she doesn’t want to be judged. But here I am, judging away. It’s so easy to do. I just don’t understand why we do it. Why I do it. We should be helping and lifting each other up. But for that to happen we need to be honest. We need to stop pretending we are perfect. Because we are not. I am not. I don’t pretend to be perfect. But here I am…watching the drama unfold and judging. I don’t like that about myself. During that whole observation of mother daughter conflict I never once thought about that mothers personal circumstances. Not at all. How is her health? Single mother? Is she a widow? Did she loose a child? Does she hate her job? What are her circumstances? Because they matter.
SHE who lives in a glass house, shouldn’t throw stones. And here I am, in my glass house, throwing stones. I can do better. You can do better. We can do better.