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Lucky Me - Livin' the Good Life

Feb. 11th, 2013

02:55 pm - Lucky Me

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I was reading a blog link that came up on my Facebook page today, and I was surprised and saddened to read about a mother who truly had unhappy feelings about motherhood. She had strong regrets. She felt like she had "died". She admitted she was depressed. And what mother isn't, she asked. I just could not relate. She called having a child "a beautiful catastrophe". I would never have described it that way. A catastrophe? Doesn't that mean a disaster? Not even close to my experience. She said she wanted her "body back". I was honestly happy to share mine. It felt yummy and luscious to do so. She said she was mourning the loss of her "previous identity". My new mother-identity was much more meaningful and fun and challenging than my old identity, which, granted, was young and not fully developed. When I became pregnant, I was so eager to take on this new identity that I gladly, gradually, let that other self fall by the wayside. She was, after all, embarrassingly self-centered and superficial. This new woman was deeper and more concerned about the welfare of others. This woman had a deep, deep mission. I couldn't imagine anything more important than being someone's mother. It was the hardest thing I ever did. It pushed me to my limits every day, and I just had to keep going deeper. And what was on the other side of each challenge was usually a "better" me. (Not always. Sometimes I failed miserably.)

This poor blogger mourned being able to go out and have a drink or a smoke with friends. (The last thing on my mind.) She mourned getting to go to work and, also, being alone. The "being alone" part really gets more achievable as the children get older.... not getting to be alone is a (granted, pretty long) phase. But, I honestly never wanted to leave my kids and go to work. Who would take care of them as good as me? Who was more interested in their welfare than me? And getting a job? That sounded boring to me. I had plenty of work of my own to do at home. Why would I want to take on someone else's work, too? And, to be honest, I found the average adult company to be tiresome. Same old, same old. But, children were fresh and fun and totally in the moment. Never dull. Adults, especially women, had endless baggage to gripe about. Children didn't. Maybe adults didn't get good enough parenting when they were little, because they seemed to have endless problems. We adults actually have very little real influence on the adults around us. But, young children, especially, are highly open to influence. Talk about a job with power! Creating and influencing the next generation couldn't be more important!

I was a big cuddler and children are also big cuddlers, so kids were a perfect match for me. I could hold them all day long if I wanted. How much cuddling would I have gotten at work? Or out with friends? None! I loved, loved, loved witnessing the blossoming and unfolding of children. Nothing was more interesting and compelling to me, and there was an incredible amount of blossoming going on around our house every single day. Lucky me.

I realize that many women do not share my feelings about mothering, especially in this day and age. I'm SO glad I was raised in the 50s and began parenting in the 70s. My friends back then were more likely to be at home with their kids and not wanting it to be otherwise. I was able to create a solid mothering network. I loved that.
Today I can enthusiastically say: "I'm happy I'm me." The life I had as a mother was perfect for me. And now that I'm no longer an on-the-job mother, I'm STILL happy I'm me. My current life is perfectly suited to the person I am. I am so grateful for the way things have turned out in my life. Lucky me.

Comments:

From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 12th, 2013 12:30 am (UTC)
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I can relate to every word you wrote here. A few years back I went to a new chiropractor who through the course of our conversation told me she raised 2 children and "it was pure hell." I was stunned by her comment. I had a hard time believing any mother could feel that way. I couldn't even go back to her after that. Was I being judgmental? Perhaps. But also, to me it was like a slam on parenthood and children....the most sacred experience in this life.

GH
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From:lestermom
Date:February 12th, 2013 12:51 am (UTC)
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Sacred. I forgot to mention that, Jill. So important. Who would want to miss out on one minute of "sacred"?
I often told people that I wouldn't want to be away from my children because I might miss something fun or interesting. What if they said something incredibly cute and I missed it? What if they had an adorable "ah ha" moment, and I had to miss that look on their face? What if they lost a tooth, and I didn't get to see the look of shock and wonderment as they pulled it out? Or they lost that tooth in the sand (which happened) and I didn't get to hold them and sooth their sadness and help them figure out how to make things better? What if I was gone and someone ELSE had to read the chapter in the book we were reading and I didn't get to share the joy of what happened with them? (We read so many good books that I would NOT have read if I didn't have a child to read them to.) It goes on and on. Endless things that I would not want to miss. They plays, the recitals, the concerts, the sports events, the school events,... I wouldn't miss any of them for anything.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 12th, 2013 10:08 am (UTC)
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SACRED!!! I love that and stand 100% behind it in my experience of motherhood -- to this day! (We'll talk about grandmothering another time;-)
How lucky, we were allowed (or allowed ourselves) to feel that way! My heart goes out to this mom and her babe, sending them love and strength.
<3 Willow
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From:lestermom
Date:February 12th, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC)
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Willow, I'm trying to unscreen your comment. I hope it works. Thanks for posting!
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From:Maya Toccata
Date:February 15th, 2013 05:08 am (UTC)
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i totally agree with you three wise grandmothers about how sacred and joyful mothering is (or can be), and i'm so glad that has been your experience. it has been mine too, but i also really resonated with the blog post you are referring to. at least, i think it was the same post: http://www.renegademothering.com/2013/02/09/i-became-a-mother-and-died-to-live/
i was so impatient to start my new identity as a mother, it was all i wanted for years, so i was not expecting to feel grief for the loss of my former, independent self. but i did.
for me it's not so black and white. being a mother is by far the deepest, most sacred, heart-exploding, hilarious, joyful experience of my life. i find myself daily reduced to puddles of love and awe and gratitude... AND, it's really hard sometimes. it's all consuming and intense and, like renegade mama, i sometimes miss being in charge of my body and my day. i would like a full night sleep with no elbow in my throat. but i don't want these things more than i want my sweet ollie boy. so it's all right.
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From:lestermom
Date:February 15th, 2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
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All I can think of is it must be a generational thing.
You're doin' a great job, Maya. And it's really good you have a sympathetic husband who works as a team with you in so many ways. I admire how you guys work things out. That, also, is a generational thing. I did not see that in my day.
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From:Danielle Eastmond
Date:February 19th, 2013 10:36 am (UTC)
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You know, I just keep reading this post over and over. You speak so eloquently for many of us who have been put on the defensive for actually revering and yes, loving the sacred job of mothering. I taught astronomy at a community college for five years. I really liked my job. But even as I taught it, I always appreciated how it was helping to prepare me for the ultimate teaching experience: Motherhood. (Boy, was I naive.) When the time came, I left my job eagerly, knowing that I would now be embarking on the most important job a woman can have.--Turns out it is also the most difficult, fun, humbling, creative and satisfying job a woman can have. I supposed that when the season changed, if I really wanted to, I could go back to teaching astronomy. I also knew that if I missed one moment with my children for a lesser calling, I would never be able to get it back. I wonder now if I would even want to return to formal teaching. (I doubt it,I have been so completely transformed and enriched.) I appreciate your perspective, especially now that you're speaking from hindsight. I can also remember feeling the way Maya feels, (That's some of the "difficult" part)--especially after I had my firstborn. I think that with my first, I was still so close in time to the person I had been, that the change and adjustment was the most jarring. (I still remembered sleeping without the elbows and showers whenever I wanted.) As the years have gone by though, I've left that former self far behind and have grown comfortable with the person who is far wiser as mom than I ever was as professor.
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From:lestermom
Date:February 19th, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, Danielle. We really must get together.
I think you're right about the first child being the most difficult adjustment. By the time I had my fifth, the younger me was but a distant memory, and, strangely, someone I did not miss at all.
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