Not going to be a PTA mom... and that's ok.

Friday, July 11, 2014

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!




12 comments:

  1. I had similar feeling before I had children. And now that the girls are approaching 18 and 21, I am the mom who looked into the price of re-keying the house. That being said, be prepared for motherhood, like many things in life, being far different than you anticipate. Enjoy the ride.

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  2. Be happy, be yourself. Things will change, but there are certain aspects of your life you should not change like your relationship with your partner (sex, sleep habits, etc). You'll get new routines and you'll get rid of other. I have two girls 15 and 21 and each of them are different human beings that I love and protect with my life. I didn't think about having kids when I was younger, but now I see my life is fuller. one last thing: I'm still not sure I want to be a granny, but I think of that when the time comes.

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  3. I think you are totally right that you don't have to lose yourself and who you are, when you have a baby, but as in all major life events, having a baby will change you. I think that once your new little bundle of joy enters your world, you will find what works for you and what doesn't. What you are comfortable with and what you aren't. I think the biggest thing is doing what you want to do, not what you think everyone else thinks you should do or wants you to do. It sounds like you come from a great line of Moms who have taught you the things you need to know and will support you in doing what you want - you're gonna be great!

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  4. I was the same: loved children, loved the idea of having a family, couldn't see a way to jive my own goals with that of the "ideal" mother and the "ideal" childhood. Eventually, I realized that *not* having a family would make me sadder than having one and it not being ideal. I now have an almost 2 year old daughter and it's been very rewarding in many ways and very challenging in others. Every phase of development requires new strategies and bending of expectations. My husband takes on a lot of the childcare so I can try to still be me but there is a lot of societal pressure in every direction. I can say I feel like I'm failing everywhere and yet also succeeding slowly and most working mothers I know feel that way. just don't give up on your dreams/ambitions as it's really easy to start getting tempted by the idea of being a stay at home mom and feeling like at least one thing you can do well. I'm assuming that you are talking to your mom about all this? She would have some very valuable insights I'm sure!

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  5. sorry to ramble...I love your site and styles by the way...I was a patternmaker for karla colletto for a few years and love lingerie and swim.

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  6. I think there is always judgement when it comes to parenting and like a lot of things in life you need to do what works for you and your family. As a creative person I can say with certainty that continuing to have a creative outlet in your life (whether it's work or a hobby) will make you a happier person and by default a happier parent!!

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  7. I don't think anyone should define what motherhood should be for you but you. I tried it one way with my first child (she was looked after during the week by a sitter because my business was going full-time) and another with my second (I put my business on hold and stayed home with her). You know what? Neither approach was perfect. :) You will find out what works best for you, your husband and baby and it will likely change and evolve over time. No matter how you do it though, I know that you will be a great mother.

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  8. I love Lady Katza's words. Like you, my maternal instincts are... missing. It's never been something that's struck me and being what my purpose should be. Bizarrely, I've just recently started getting what I can only describe as a biological urge to procreate (much to my husbands delight, as he's ridiculously clucky). And as I still feel so separated from the desire to have children so I can be a mother, it's a little baffling. Like you, i'll be going my own way when the time comes. We're lucky that in this day in age we have that option :) All the best for your impending delivery! x

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  9. One of my blog readers pointed out this post to me and I enjoyed reading it...I have two girls and have struggled with guilt at not feeling like I wanted to sacrifice everything and give 100 % of my time to them...I still want to be my own person with my own interests and passions, that are separate from being a mom. I recently read "Bringing up Bebe" about parenting styles in France and it was really good! Now I don't feel like a selfish mom, I'm just like a French mom ;) I absolutely LOVE being a mom, my girls bring me so much joy. I wish you all the best with yours!!

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    1. I just downloaded the audio book version of Bringing up Bebe. Just one chapter in, and it is great! Thank you for the recommendation :)

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  10. Here I am catching up on my blog reading and I see this entry and the fact that you quoted a comment I made so long ago. I can't tell you just how touched I am by this fact. You are going to be an awesome Mom. This little girl is going to have the best wardrobe and go on lots of camping trips and laugh and cry and you'll go from wanting to tear your hair out to wondering how you ever lived without them.

    Life's a roller coaster, which is good because merry-go-rounds get boring after a while.

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  11. What a refreshing post! A few of my friends have been sucked into the sort of "Pinterest mom" vortex, and while it's awesome to do coordinating themed photo shoots to celebrate every month of baby's life, it can be so exhausting if you're doing it out of a sense of obligation or because all your peers are parenting that way. Parenting your way (like working your way, or being married your way, or most other things) is a good way to avoid burnout or feeling lost in a role that doesn't suit you.

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