I've been trying to figure out the Meaning Of Motherhood thing ever since I got into this business (circa 1999).
The MOM Thing
Last Saturday's blog >WIN, LOSE AND LEARN
Being a MOTHER is one thing. And being a MUTHA, of course, is something else. But the MOM thing... It's Mind Over Matter before Meeting One's Maker.
And looking back, I think the thing begins to happen as the bliss of MOTHERhood shows signs of wear and tear. Say, around the 2nd
weak week after you bring your beautiful new child home and realize the phrases, "I don't know" and "God, help me" now have cosmically profound meanings.
Other MOMs see the thing start to peek through when, at an extended-family event you break down into a snot-bubbly mess and publicly declare to the woman who raised you, "I am SO SORRY (gurgle) and THANKFUL (sniffle) and I LOVE YOU (waaahhhh)!!!"
Yeah, there are countless incidents that crack and peel away the preconceived notions of how a MOTHER should handle childhood. But there's no preparation for the split-second decisions that must be made after bodily fluid blowouts, vulgar outbursts, cute but inappropriate actions, well-meaning (?) but irritating advice etc.
Naah. It's nothing like TV. It's nothing like I read in my favorite books. It's nothing like I saw growing up. It's not like any of what I thought it would be because you can't suppose it, observe it or even work toward it. You have to BE it.
And it took me a long while to understand that about this MOM thing. My career, go-with-the-flow way of doing things and idealized view of my body at a certain age all took a hit after I crossed into MOTHERhood. And except for the body thing, I'm not mad at -- and even needed -- the children's impact on my life. What got me, took me through the whole range of emotions and had me stuck for the longest was: "What kind of MOTHER am I supposed to be? I don't want to mess them up." MOTHERs do this and they act a certain way and they handle that and this other thing doesn't happen and...
I don't even know if I can put into words how friggin confused and TIRED I made myself. Just like many other MOTHERs before me, I was trying to make it look and feel right to me, to the kids, to my husband, to my friends, to our families, to strangers... ALL OF THE TIME.
But then it happened for me, the thing broke through. The layers of 'supposed to be' and 'ought to be', which first appeared polished, finally rubbed raw and gave way to my thing: A very basic understanding that this isn't about picture-perfect scenes of clean and quiet hand-in-hand giggles and self-assured guidance. It's also not the opposite of whatever I just described.
It's about Managing One's Madness and Maintaining Our Magic through a chaotic Mess of Moments until it's time for the Move Out Mandate.
Yep. This MOM thing is about Mostly Out Maneuvering the unrealistic traps of perfection. Understanding that you will yell and laugh from the gut. You will cross your heart in hope and cross your eyes in exasperation. You will look for any manner of escape and check in every moment to see what's gonna happen next. And if you needed someone other than your parents to talk to help you figure things out at some point in your life then it's OK if your kid does too. That's just how it is.
There's no real balance when your life is on the metaphorical see-saw. Quit looking for it. Just do your best to keep it moving, with love.
It's the MOM thing, a lifetime of: "MOM.""MOM.""MOM.""MOM.""MOM.""MOM.""MOM.""MOM.""MOM.""MOM.""MOM."
And backwards or forwards - it's all good.