Friday, May 18, 2012
Every time I am at the grocery store I find myself face to face with Time Magazine asking me if I am "mom enough". I am chasing Jack and Olivia through the candy check out, praying for a non trainee with a master register technique and yet I am confronted with the thought - well am I? Why because I don't sleep with them? Well I do but that's because they crawl into my bed like ninjas and I can't always feel them until I am riding the edge of the mattress with no blankets. Because I don't nurse them until their braces interfere with the latch on? Because I don't wear them until they start 3rd grade? Are you serious? THAT'S what makes me mom enough? Do I need this? Do my sister moms need the stress of being asked if we are mom enough? The ones juggling to put food on the table and still have the energy to read If You Give a Pig a Pancake for the 10th time? The ones who power through a Gymboree class and smile a lot because wine night is coming? Swim lessons? Pediatricians? Wegmans on a SUNDAY? Do I need another reason to feel insecure about my mothering? No, I don't. And especially from some 20 something in skinny jeans exploiting the very child she claims to pioneer the parenting trails for. After nearly 17 years at this I refuse to allow myself to be manipulated into thinking if I chew their food and wear them, they will feel more embraced. Embraced by what? What about confidence? What about personal development? What about a sense of appropriate DEtachment? What about me getting a fucking break in my bed? I have never missed a swim meet, a game, a choral concert or a flu; never a moment I didn't pride myself on being there for me and for them. I stay at home by choice and yeah, it kicks my ass at times - I trade in brain cells for chuck e cheese tokens but I remain without regret until now...Time Magazine begs the question - am I mom enough because my children are not (still) dangling from my breast. Well y'know what? I am BUSY. I am busy raising adults. I am being training and negotiating, rewarding and molding, yelling (okay well yeah there's that) and planning and what I don't need is another reason to feel like a failure. What I LOVE about the women I have in my life is that they are ALL busting their ass, loving their kids and supporting each other and none of us ask each other if we are mom enough because we are. So to the Time Cover Girl. Shut up and pray Google takes a dump before your kid enters middle school and those images are there to "embrace" him. That is all.
Friday, May 11, 2012
It's not a secret to anyone who knows me well that I was raised by a woman who probably shouldn't have been a mother. I was more or less raised by my best friends' mother who I still remember causing me to tremble when I disappointed her but always, always hugging me. I can still smell her sometimes. This Sunday will be my 17th Mothers' Day and if I can offer anything to myself or to my friends, it's hold on...that's it, just hold on. Hold onto the first moments, the belly laughs, the sand castles, the soccer games, the cupcakes, the exploration, the playground...Having children ranging from 16 to 4 offers me a chance to parent two childhoods...my starter children and my raised by a less neurotic ones. The older girls had organic foods, early bedtimes, a hundred books a day, prayers, museums, poetry, long carefully worded discussions and home grown vegetables, no sugar, no pesticides, no red dye 341. The second two - Mc Donalds drive thru, video in the car, noise, fish, late to Hebrew school because I'm tired, a few "because I said so's" and salt water taffy before dinner because who cares...and y'know, both will be just fine. I am holding on. Holding on sometimes with my teeth because when it really matters, I am holding on even tighter - to them, from crisis to unsavory boyfriends to bad grades, to rained out beach vacations to slamming doors. It's almost unbearable at times to watch them tap dance on a minefield and yet, I do...okay sometimes I fire a "you really should..." but then I know, they will do what they will do and it's part of the process. I think if they aren't trying to push boundaries, I haven't done it right and yet in the darkness of the night, I know they will be okay. I know because the value system we set up, that they take down brick by brick will be reconstructed in their honor, by them and truth be told, it will appear shockingly like ours. I feel sometimes like I am pulling them out of quick sand but I will never stop...I will never give up, I will never back off because being a mother, to me, is my greatest life work and since the second I laid eyes on Maddie, it became so. I make a hell of a lot of mistakes, I place judgement, I second guess myself and I talk too much but when each one goes to bed, they know I would get up early to let the sun out for them and perhaps my mother's greatest gift to me was to give me the need to parent with wild abandon, passion and commitment. I hold their memories, their hands and their hearts and I will never stop...holding. So to my 19 year old mother who held herself hostage with a newborn, you are free to go and to my four children, forgive me for meddling, prying and helicopter parenting but know how deeply you are loved. Being loved and desired is the greatest of all gifts we can give our children...I love how they roll their eyes when I joke about never letting them leave home...but I know they do it because they don't know another feeling so for that, I have done my job. Happy Mothers' Day to me...