For a while I felt the greatest honor for being a mother but at the same time there was this nagging feeling that it wasn’t enough. For whatever reason, society, my own insecurities, having children young, mostly society, I felt like I had to do more. I felt that if I wasn’t bringing home a paycheck or had a career, motherhood wasn’t good enough.
I laugh now, though I still battle that feeling when I see posts on Instagram and Facebook. Then I thought, what does that tell my daughter? What an insult to my children. Is motherhood not good enough? Raising children doesn’t satisfy me? The fact is, that’s not true. Raising our daughter and growing our baby is the greatest honor I could have. It’s this society that tells me different. The messages in the media, women can do it all. Women have to do it all, if not they fail. Yet if we work too hard, how dare we leave our children to be raised by others. If we choose to be a stay at home mom then we’re lazy, we just use our husbands, what a luxury. All this fucked up criticism that isn’t true. It is reflected in our school systems, our preschools, our childcare and the lack of maternity care, paternity care and the lack of leave that is alloted from work after a baby is born. Because if we’re not making money our sense of worth is gone, straight up out the door. That tells the children of our society that they are not good enough. It tells them that they are not worth taking time, that money means more. That sets them up for low self-esteem. Because when they’re parents work all the time or seem distracted looking for something else to fulfill them, that child gets denied.
But what if we valued motherhood? What if we valued parenthood? What if we praised mothers and fathers and the curves of our bodies post-baby instead of these pictures of “fit-moms” only 2 weeks post-partum. What if we praised mothers who raised their children, conciously. If we praised motherhood more in media, in communities, would mothers feel satisfied with “just being a mom”? Do we feel unfulfilled because of society or did we have children too young? Did we use having kids as an excuse to run away from our problems? I realize the answer isn’t the same for everyone. The very large majority of us, regardless of circumstance, are all trying to do our best. But if society, media, and our communities didn’t shove us all in a shitty box full of disses, expectations, and judgements, would we feel more fulfilled as mothers. Couldn’t we do even better?
I’ve always wanted to be a mother. More than I wanted to be anything else, more than I wanted marriage. I never saw a Prince Charming, but I always saw my children in my future. The first few months of motherhood, I felt that I wasn’t satisfied because I felt that I had to provide a paycheck. I felt that if I told people I was a mother not an accountant, a nurse, a whatever, I wasn’t valued enough. It left me a little bit heartbroken, confused, and angry. The adjustment period into motherhood took part in these feelings, the “holy shit, this is real and my life is changed forever” played a part. I think other mothers can relate to that. Now, I get angry that people talk about “just being a mom” or “another mom blog” or anything that implies mothers should feel less than because they are mothers. What the fuck is wrong with wanting to be a great mother? Doesn’t this world need better mothers? Better parents? A greater sense of family and togetherness? Isn’t that what gang members look for when they enter a gang? Isn’t that why children look to be accepted by others because they don’t feel a sense of family at home? These aren’t the only issues of the world, obviously. It is not the fault of mothers and fathers for the troubles of the world. But if we valued mothers, fathers, families, wouldn’t that set us up for a greater future?
I don’t want to be too tired to parent my child. I don’t want to use an iPad to distract my child because I have spent all my energy working. I’m not trying to shame the parents that are in this situation. I understand the financial need for both parents to work, I understand the lack of energy you enter your home with at the end of the day. If we valued families, if we praised mothers for doing a great job and in some way supported those families, we’d be in a better place. My husband and I are lucky enough and have chosen to budget our lives so I can be a mother, first. I have chosen this life and I value the importance of raising conscious children.
I refuse to feel like that decision is not enough because society values money over the health of our children and families. I have passions for many things in this world and I do want a career, but I don’t need it all at once. My children will be young for only a few years. For now, we will pinch our pennies and I will fulfill my other passions slowly, in a different way than I did when I was single.
Whatever you choose, whatever works best for you and your family, don’t let anyone talk you down from being the mother you want to be, however that may be. Don’t let anyone put you in a box or judge you because of their own expectations. If you’re a working mother, props. It takes a hell of a lot of energy. If you’re with your babes all day, props. It takes a hell of a lot of energy. If you’re a mother who is doing her best to do right by her children while taking care of herself as best as possible, props. It takes a hell of a lot of energy.