I have been thinking about this for the past few days. I have even been meaning to write it down – but until today, it seemed like one of those crazy thoughts that come with motherhood.
I have mentioned before that the day I became a mom is the same day that the world became something to fear. Not to say I didn’t have fears before my little girl was placed in my arms, but there were always safe places. As soon as that little girl was placed in my arms, even my safe places became areas of suspected danger lurking just out of sight. How do you protect such a precious little one from the possible dangers?
I used to fear things like the dark, storms, and being murdered one day by a member of my immediate family. Each of these things are primarily irrational based on the likelihood that one of them would actually be my demise. I should say that my fear of being murdered by a family member is in no way a reflection on any particular person in my life. I just think the only thing worse than dying at the hands of an other human being is having that human being be someone you love/trust.
While none of those things are my favorite things, I am more terrified of something that seems much worse. I don’t ever want to be that mom. Being that mom can have a ton of meanings, but in this context it means being the mom who makes their child(ren) feel as though she never has enough for them, their concerns, or their problems. I can think of nothing worse than learning that my child had been dealing with an issue alone because they didn’t think they could come to me.
As I near the uncomfortable stage of this pregnancy, am often consumed by intense tiredness following nights full of difficult sleep, any my 2 year old seems to think she is going on 14, I find somedays it is easy to believe I am communicating to my child that I have other more important things going on … like a serious nap.
Today was absolutely one of those days.
I normally function fine on little sleep, but this little girl is testing boundaries and won’t nap if we don’t stick to our tried and true routine … making the beach this morning with auntie a fun adventure that mommy has to pay for dearly in the end. I am upset with my lack of patients and understanding for my 2 year old during her refusal to take a decent nap. And at the same time I understand that mommy needs to take care of herself a little bit before she can be a mommy worthy of my little girl.
I really just wanted her to nap for 20 minutes. Just long enough for me to hop in the shower and wash off the lake. Bonus if I also got to take a little (much needed) nap. But instead of laying down and resting, she kept putting her feet in my face. Feet sort of bother me to begin with, having them in my face doesn’t help that and her complete joy and glee in something I find so disruptive and unappealing is that much worse.
I hope that instead of teaching my daughter to be afraid to come to me, I am handling these days in a way that teaches her that we all have bad days and we all make mistakes. I hope she learns that mommy might just need 5 minutes here and there but that when push comes to shove there is nothing I wouldn’t give up for her.
Most important for her and her future, I hope I am teaching her boundaries.
I hope she is learning their value, how to set her own, and how to respect the boundaries of others.
Being mom makes it so easy to get lost in your role. It is easy to no longer be able to identify what makes you who you are and to no longer have a life outside of your family. It is even more true for me now that I am home with my little girl all day everyday.
Many of us define ourselves by our chosen career paths.
I haven’t been on a first date since I was a senior in high school, so I might be totally off about this, but I believe when someone wants you to ‘tell them about yourself’ one of the first things we say is ‘I am a ______ (insert career here)’. In my opinion that is sad to start with because it doesn’t tell me much about you, just allows me to make generic assumptions based on what I know about the career in general. But as a stay at home mom for the moment, my story goes something like this ‘I am a stay at home mom. I have 1 kid with another on the way. My daughter is 2 …’. Basically everything is about the family. At least when I was working I could lead with something not related to my family.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t happy and I most definitely was not avoiding being that mom. In fact, I think I was actually more likely to communicate to my daughter that something (in this case work) came first. Primarily because of the amount of time I spent away between my commute and my work day, never being the one to do daycare pick up or drop off and always needing to spend my time away from work working on other things like the house or school work that just didn’t get done during the week.
I couldn’t be happier with the decisions my husband and I have made in the past 6 months for our family. And I couldn’t be more proud of the way we have handled such a major change and the unexpected news of adding to our family at the same time. Lucky for me he has been the strong one when I have doubted the wisdom of my decision.
After 6 months being at home, I am still not sure this is the right choice long term for me and my family. While I may not be able to say being home is the best decision ever, I can say with complete confidence that leaving the corporate world and a career path that I didn’t ever see making me happy in exchange for time with my family and to figure out my next move was the best decision we could have ever made.