Earlier this week, we had a bunch of rain and some of my hydrangea's got knocked down. I cut a few and have them sitting in a vase in my living room... they are so pretty! I am really enjoying my garden this year. It is finally beginning to look like I know what I'm doing! Most of my plants have come from my mom or another family member, so I've started wtih small clumps. Now everything is starting to expand.
So, I've been thinking a whole lot about this "becoming a mom" thing, for obvious reasons. As you may remember, I've never had that "maternal drive" that so many women discuss feeling. As a teenager, when I pictured my life, I pictured an old house, an artsy career, a pet, maybe a longterm partner. I am pretty much livin' the dream. Livin' my dream, that is. "Mom" was something I never really saw in my future. Not that I don't love kids... because I really do (and kids seem to really like me). It just wasn't something I ever gave much thought to. As I saw many of my friends and acquaintances have kids, or discuss their desire to have kids, it made me feel a little lost. I just never had that... urge, and that was something I really struggled with!
As I get closer to becoming a mom myself, I realize I have had this very narrow view what motherhood looks like, and I'm not sure where it came from because I come from a very progressive family. When I thought about having kids, I had this idea that I'd be giving up a major part of my life - possibly even my career. I thought that I would be doing a lot of sacrificing and driving to soccer games (ugh, I hate sports!) and PTA meetings (booooring). I think we really idolize the archetype of the "martyr mommy" - the woman who puts everyone else before her self. That's what I thought I'd have to do too.
I don't know why this was the way I thought. My mom was never your average soccer mom. She worked (and continues to work) full-time in a demanding career and was the main breadwinner in our family. She has furthered her education. She has done so many great things... all in addition to being a mom! And a really amazing mom at that (who is now also my best friend!). I don't feel like I missed out on anything growing up. In fact, I think I benefited from seeing a woman do all the amazing things she did, and also benefited from seeing my dad pick up the slack around the house (though my mom would argue that he still could do more lol).
In fact, I come from a long line of awesome Mom's. My grandma raised 5 of her own kids, and I understand she helped raise others too, while also working as a realtor, running her own business, being involved in the local community, and eventually after her kids were grown, became an author. So many of the mom's in my life have had these amazing lives outside of and in addition to being a mom. That being said, I think they also faced criticism for the choices they made. I am beginning to see this myself, every time someone asks me if I will continue to work after the baby is born, or gives me a look of shock when I say I want to put my baby in day care a few days a week so I can focus on my business.
I guess I had this very singular view of what motherhood meant. I thought "when you have kids, you stop doing other things." Don't get me wrong, I do expect there to be changes to my lifestyle a long the way, but the more I think about it, the more I see the benefit of being a bit of a selfish-mom as opposed to the selfless-mom. It makes me angry that despite my own experience with what motherhood looks like, there is still this prevailing view of a very narrow image of motherhood. I think this potentially creates a lot of unhappy mom's, or turns a lot of potentially amazing mom's off of motherhood.
Two years ago, I wrote about my lack of maternal-drive, and it felt so good to know that there were many of you out there who felt the same way. It was also really great to hear from mom's who were just doing motherhood the way they wanted. Whether that meant staying home, or maintaining their career. One comment in particular, really made an impact on me. Lady Katza said,
"But one thing, should you decide to have children, that you SHOULD NOT do, is feel that you have to give up who you are as a person. Your life should not be about your children 24/7. This whole notion that we should "give up our dreams for our children" is ridiculous. I didn't stop going to sci-fi conventions, or protests, or anything like that, i just take them along with me. And if you live close to you parents, EVEN BETTER! The grands will step in to help because you are working and they have time. People forget that that is what families are for. "My mom never drove a mini-van or was involved in the PTA. In fact, sometimes she was too busy with work to attend every single one of my many piano recitals, and guess what? I turned out perfectly OK! I think it took me getting pregnant to realize that being a Mom won't change who I am as a person. I'm never going to volunteer to drive a van full of kids to a soccer game... but I will happily give out piano lessons, or do arts and crafts, or go on trips to an art gallery or museum. And that is just fine!