It’s Mother’s Day in the United States.
What better day than Mother’s Day to pontificate motherhood?
Walking around my home, from the modest kitchen into the movie collection dense family room to fold laundry, I’m struck by my individual priorities as a person. My immediate loves are media: books, movies, and music – and my home is filled to the brim with examples of such things. Books are in every room, sometimes stacked. Music, and multiple ways to play it are nearly in every room – CD’s, vinyl records, heck, even cassette tapes. Movies line the walls. I’m one degree away from being on a episode of Hoarders. I love it.
Now, having recently gotten up from my desk (OK, not my desk, the kitchen bar area where my laptop sits charging on it’s power cord) reading one of my favorite blogs, Somewhere Slower (a blog that follows a family of 6 as they traverse across our amazing planet for a year), I’m suddenly fascinated and intrigued by my decision as a parent and what affect it will have on my daughter’s life.
For example, my inclinations to indulge in literature, music, and film. Will that be detrimental to my daughter? Should I veer from my natural somewhat indoors-y inclinations and guide her towards a more outdoor existence? Now, I’m no Emily Dickenson, we (“we” being my husband and myself with our daughter) are outside frequently, we live in the countryside, on a lovely creek. She plays in the water, throws rocks, isn’t repulsed by dirt, we have dogs, we have cats, we have rabbits, and we have chickens. These things are all apart of her everyday life. Are they enough? Am I missing a crucial ingredient necessary to her well rounded childhood? Should she observe a mother more focused on gardening and hiking than collecting obscure VHS movies and reading memoirs and travelogues of Africa? Should I be unapologetically me? Or do I need to fasten my “mom” belt and be a more streamlined version of myself? But in streamlining myself, is that the right message to send to my daughter? That you need to adapt and lose who YOU are to embrace motherhood? It’s all overwhelming.
I look around at how other mothers adapt to motherhood and wonder if they’ve got the secret ingredient. Is there a secret ingredient?
I look inward at my own fears and worries and wonder if they will plague her as well? Or, if I come to accept my worries as and conquer my fears, will they abolish them for her too?
All these questions aside, I haven’t EVEN begun to ponder what it means to be a woman and raise a daughter to be a confident woman. I guess it’s because I don’t consider myself raising a woman. I’m a raising a human being. And I want her to be a confident human being. Being a confident woman will follow, I presume. It did for me at least.
There are details buried within details in this whole parenting gig. And it’s all bloody overwhelming at the end of it all. I just want her to be happy, I want her to be confident in who she is as an individual in this world, to maintain a certain amount of levity in life when things don’t always go her way, and I want her to capture the moments of pure peace and joy in life and to know that those will equate to more than years when you add them all up at the end of it all.
You can be a mother spiritually. You can be a mother biologically. And you can be a mother emotionally. I’m aiming for a bit of each. I’m aiming to do the best I can without losing me and also giving bits of me to her. I’m aiming for my life to be what I wish for her.
I will never be that mother that cries before a major birthday. I will never be a hugely emotional mother. I will never be the mother that “was born to be a mom.” But, what I can be, and what I hope to be, is the best passenger this little girl can ask for in this journey called life. Side by side, I’ll share what I love, accept and nurture what she loves, teach what is morally wrong and what is wrong to me, indulge in the best, avoid the worst, and hopefully, when the book is written and song is sung, she will stand on her own two feet and know that I was there, standing beside her, as long as life would allow.
Joke’s on her – she’ll have to pack up all the books and music and movies when I punch my last ticket!