Monday, October 1, 2007

Real Mothers Unite

I was having a conversation earlier today with a friend at work, who desperately wants to have children, but is biologically unable to do so. She's struggling with the idea of adoption, which I'm trying to encourage...a really big departure for me. I normally don't try to encourage parenthood to anyone since I feel like it's such a huge decision, everyone should make up their own mind and not let anyone else's opinions interfere. Yet this woman is so suited for motherhood, and as sad as it is that she can't experience it the "old-fashioned" way, she and her husband just seem like the perfect example of what adopted parents should look like. So I've pushed my nose in and told her what I felt.
She mentioned that she also was worried that she'd feel guilty about taking her child to day care. This, like adoption, just doesn't fit in with what she thought motherhood would look like for her. While I certainly understand the desire to stay home, again, sometimes reality just gets in the way and we need to re-adjust our attitudes and perceptions and goals to make our dreams fit reality.
For me, it was the reality that I was going to have to do parenthood all on my own.
We had a discussion on a Moms site I belong to where we were asked, when did you feel like a mom? One woman was extremely honest in her answer that she struggled for quite a long time with that because she didn't feel like she thought she would.
I once had a bit of a meltdown in an English lit class, discussing Walt Whitman's poetry. I really dislike Walt Whitman, particularly how he glorifies mothers. Norman Rockwell is another offender.
These people, mostly men, have set up this expectation of what motherhood looks like and how we should feel and I think it can be incredibly detrimental to women who just don't look like the portraits that they've seen. Popular culture in the present hasn't done much to diminish these ideals. Exhibit A: the movie "Knocked Up," where of course the woman is ready as soon as she makes the decision to have the child to become a mom, but it takes the guy until the birth to "step up" (and it's unrealistic to believe that the guy would step up - trust me, I've lived it!). But I digress.
My point is, I'm so grateful for some of the women on the Internet who have been honest and forthright about their struggles with not fitting into the cookie-cutter image of motherhood. Blogs like Because I Said So and White Trash Mom have not only made me smile, but feel like I'm not alone in not feeling like Donna Reed. Also, I've just finished reading Jennifer Weiner's Goodnight Nobody where the main character struggles with not fitting in at the playground mommy group.
These are excellent reminders and, dare I say, role models for those of us who found motherhood to be not at all what we pictured. And I thank those parents that have given me the chance to laugh at myself, the chance to admit failures along the way, and the chance to celebrate and cheer on all of our successes as we let go of the quest to be the perfect parent, and embrace the goal of simply being the best parent we can be.

1 comment:

LunaNik said...

I've added a link to your blog on the blog that I started. Feel free to stop by.

I also just joined a mom's blogging community that you might be interested in.