My mother and I have a very interesting relationship and one that is different than the one she has with my sisters. Never the less, she has always been a mother to us in the same way. Most of my friends are moms; very different mothers mind you, but moms none the less. For some it created a great divide between us and for others it just became a different type of friendship but thrived just the same.
I was talking to my Person one day about the men in my life and their scattered ambition when she noted that maybe that is why they were attracted to me, because I am ambitious but very focused. I would never (prior to this conversation) use those words to describe myself , ambitious? I mean I guess I am. I decide what I want to do and then I do it–I completely go narrow and with blinders when it comes to getting what I want. And I always get it. Whether I still want it when I get it is another subject all together. In any case so I was reading a friend of mine’s blog…she’s a mother of a two year old…and I was thinking if once I become a mom I’ll start one of those mommy blogs. My answer was an immediate no.
I thought about where that came from, so assuredly. I thought of my own mother. She has always told my sisters and I that she always wanted three girls and she loves being a mother, but I could never in a million years see my mom writing a mommy blog. I do not want to assume what her reasons are, but for myself it is the same reason that I would never do a fashion blog, or a weight loss blog, or a natural hair blog, etc. Even though I address all those things here, it feels too much like paining myself into a corner. That’s when it slapped me in the face.
Being a mother is not enough. OMG am I a Miranda? Yes, I speak to myself in this fashion and yes I refer to Sex and the City as often as I possibly can. Anyway, I always said that I was working to be a teacher (professor) so that I could have my summers off if I want to, and just be able to write and research while still having a foot in academia and a foot at home with my children. The truth is, I need that balance of both.
I remember how crazy my mom went when she stopped working. Literally, she rearranged the furniture in our home like a mad person and she painted every room at least twice. Never, though, did she stop having lunches with her friends or doing whatever she wanted to do. Granted it somehow melded into the lives of us. For example, my mom has always been a crafter: so she made musical outfits for me, she now helps out with costuming my sisters plays, and bakes for us, completely designed and redecorated our rooms. And when my sisters were little she just took us with her on whatever random adventure she was going on. Its interesting because she is the mother I know most intimately and I know her in both working and stay at home mom mode. Still, though, her days stay full. I do not see myself there.
I cannot imagine myself not working. I need a part of my day to include intelligent, authentic, adult conversation. I think part of my moms mothering has rubbed off on me because I want to travel and I intend on taking my kids with me, but I never see myself being a stay at home mom. Not even if I could afford to be. I like the work that I do. I like the work that I have the potential to do. I don’t even want to work from home. Maybe its selfish but there still needs to be something that is mine. Just as there will need to be something that is just ours, for my husband and I. Being a mother is not enough, not nearly enough.
The more I reiterate it the more I like it, and my entire system agrees. I read an article, by another friend who is a mother, about moms needing to maintain a life of their own. I praised it because I cannot imagine being a mom who didn’t. I don’t feel any sort of way about those mothers that do–well yes I do, I suppose I feel they are missing something. But that may be a lack of understanding on my part. So I can only speak from my own pov when I say that only being a mom would feel like a half life. Ugh, who would have ever thought I would feel so passionately about work?
When someone asks you, “What are you?” or “What do you do?” what do you say? I still think being a mother is the most wonderful and beautiful thing in the world. That will never change. What changed, I suppose, was my view of motherhood for myself. My ownership of my own professional ambition. My acknowledgement that this world I have been in for so long is a world that I do not want to ever be done with. My realization that my work is a labor of love that I do not apologize for and that to everything there is a season, time, and purpose. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. My kids won’t be neglected and unloved if I am not there every second of every day (if that was ever really a fear). Everything will work out because I will dedicate an immense amount of love and energy to it, as I always do. I am completely at peace with my morning slap in the face.