A Mommy, A Woman Too

I realized, the other night, when my almost six-year-old son put his arm around me, pulled me close to him and gently pat my shoulder, that I do not write much (at least lately) about being a mom.  But, that is such a large part of who I am.  A huge part.  Fundamental.  A mom.

Today I am babysitting my gorgeous, fun-loving, one-and-a-half-year-old niece while we are waiting for my nephew to get his first glimpse of this beautiful, frightening world. Bless him, that sweet little boy.  He is spending his last moments in utero “laying in a hammock” as my brother-in-law put it, stubbornly breech as my sister awaits a C-section.

Right now, I am listening, over the baby monitor, to my niece fuss and whine and even screech a little as she is having trouble getting to sleep.  I am instantly taken back to the days when my own stubborn little boy refused to sleep.  I am taken back to bouncing and bouncing and bouncing on an exercise ball in hopes that he would eventually surrender.  I am taken back to holding his hand through the crib bars while he clutched my finger begging with his babble and screams for me to pick him up.  I am especially taken back to a night when I blogged about us letting him cry it out for a seemingly sadistic amount of time until he gave in to slumber and I toasted to silence.

 When my son was smaller, and before our marriage fell apart, I used to write incessantly about motherhood—about the sharp dichotomy about parenting communities and parental judgments, about my husband dressing our son like Liberace, about trying to feel sexy while salsa dancing but being completely stifled by feeling my milk let down, and about me being my son’s first true love.  Now, it seems, I write about me, me, me– about my wide hips, about my fractured self, and about finding out who I am again.  I don’t know if, perhaps, I have distanced myself from this motherhood thing, not in terms of caring for and loving my son (I think I do a pretty damn good job in that department), but in terms of personal inspiration. I am seeing myself outside of my role as a mother as or because I am no longer a wife, which, I think, is probably a good thing—divvying out a self, apart from the huge responsibilities of momhood, that also needs attention.

Jung said (yeah, here I go again) that “the greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.”  (Some have quoted this as “the greatest burden of the child is…)  I suppose the term “unlived lives” could mean a myriad of personal things—the sacrifices made, the experiences not had, the person unknown to her or himself.  I imagine, honestly, that the “unlived life” is all of these things.  And, I must admit, I agree with the statement.  (Maybe not being the “greatest tragedy” but a sadness, a loss, a tragedy of some type.)  Perhaps in my not writing about being a mom, about my finding in myself other roles, other women even, that I am, in some ways, honoring myself enough to be a better mother.  I hope that is the case although I do feel somewhat guilty (is it guilt exactly?) about not making my son a bigger part of my current written world.

I could write, of course, about being a “single mom” something I have eased into for many a reason including, and maybe especially, because I am not truly a single mom.  While my ex and I may disagree about many a thing, we do have shared custody which means that I get breaks.  Breaks.  And, these breaks may have also resulted in my verbal and linguistic self-centeredness.  I have the space, as so many mothers do not, to express myself, to think of myself, and to experience life outside of the daily grind of momming.  This, as you can probably guess, is a blessing and a curse.  We have, in no way, mastered co-parenting and there is a hole in my gut while my son is away.  (I may also refrain from writing, at least here, about my son because my relationship with him sometimes seems so tied up in our new life, in our broken family, and I do not feel like this is the best venue to share or, God forbid, attempt to resolve any feelings or attitudes about our divorce.) Yet, I am able to regroup and reframe and be much more present and excited and available (I hope) while my son is with me.  It is just me then, and I guess that is the single mom part, and it is twenty-four (but not seven) and I am solely responsible for his care during those hours.  As I write this, I am thinking, in my own hard-on-myself way that I need to find more ways to connect during that one-on-one time, more ways to be available.  And, I can.  And, will.

So, my heart goes out to moms.  Moms of multiples who have so much to manage, and moms of singles (like me) who must find so many ways to entertain.  In being a parent, you are trading certain experiences, you are trading time, you are trading freedom to care for and nurture and teach another precious human being.  But, as Jung eludes to, it is so important to also find oneself and to live one’s life- whatever that means to each individual—and to show that vibrant healthy being to your little ones.  They need that whole, beautiful person in their lives.  So, my excluding my son from this blog may not be a motherless act, but, in some ways, an act of love.  For myself.  For him.

I wish all mothers (and fathers) the space with which to live that “unlived life” and to find that “unfound person” and to let that life and person permeate those around you and glow.

Anyone need a sitter?  I can make myself available…

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1 Comment

  1. Andrea said,

    September 17, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    :). Yes Please


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