Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quotation Tuesday: Motherhood Melancholy

Motherhood is the only thing in my life that I've really known for sure is something I wanted to do.
~Cynthia Nixon~

A few of the people that write blogs I am fond of have recently either adopted a child or birthed a child. It's made me kind of melancholy. The quote really says it all for me. Nothing I ever wanted to do or ever have done was better than being a mom. I love being a mom. But once your kids are adults and you haven't stepped into the grandparent role yet...the role is undefined and kind of blurry. You are still their mom, but with conditions. More about that later. So, I am melancholy. It might be the blogs or it could be the hormones. Another lovely gift from Eve that I could have done without. I've never been able to figure out why she ate that dang apple. As far as I'm concerned apples aren't even that good. Now, if it had been chocolate...I would totally have her back. Anyway, here I sit, before my blog and I am melancholy for motherhood. So I'm going to write about it. Because it's such a conundrum, motherhood.

Motherhood is the most heartbreaking, frustrating, taxing, tiring, wonderfully exquisite thing I've ever done. Here is the first conundrum of motherhood (or parenthood...I'm under no delusions that I did this by myself...I had lots of help from the best father in the world...but for the purposes of this post...we'll use motherhood): You love and care for your children and protect them at all costs. You would lay down your life for your child. You do everything in your power to raise kind, compassionate, independent, productive citizens of the world. You're whole focus is making sure that they can exist in the world without you. So the very thing that you raise them to be, ultimately breaks your heart into a million pieces. It is also the source of the most joy you could ever feel. Being a mother is all at once heartbreaking and joyous. I've never figured out how to balance those emotions, and maybe I'm not supposed to.

Conundrum two: After you release your children to the world...you are basically left standing on the sidelines to watch. You are not allowed to, nor should you, tell your children how to live their lives. Even if you don't approve, even if you know they will be hurt, even if you know it's THE most wrong thing they've ever done. They are adults in charge of their own lives. Your opinion no longer matters, unless they want it to matter. I always vowed I would NEVER be a busy body mom to my adult children. Hopefully, I do an ok job in that department.

Conundrum three: Will I ever be able to let go of the guilt? I think most mothers would say that motherhood comes with a fair amount of guilt. I take feeling guilty to a whole new level...I'm the master of motherhood guilt. Even now that they are raised and no amount of parenting voodoo can undo anything I might have screwed up...I still feel guilt. I'm lucky that I have three wonderful kids who fit the above bill pretty well. Do I think I got them there...I'm not sure. Sometimes I think it was all a big crap shoot and I'm just lucky they turned out ok. Sometimes I'm sure that I must have done something right...sometimes I just don't know. People have complimented me on my kids and on my parenting style. I smile and say thank you all the while wondering in the back of my mind if they would still feel that way if they knew that I once locked my children, all under the age of 6, outside on a hot Arizona summer day because they were driving. me. crazy! I wonder what they'd think of my parenting skills if they knew that when my daughter threatened to run away from home for the millionth time, I helped her pack her suitcase, walked her out the front door and locked the door behind her. She was four. Funny thing about that one though...she never threatened to run away again. I guess it worked...but I still feel guilty. I feel guilty about the numerous times I lost my temper and my patience. But, I did the best I could in each circumstance, so why I still carry the guilt, who knows? I guess it's in my DNA.

Last conundrum: Around the time my youngest daughter turned 7 or so, I decided I was done having children. It took me several years to really be ok with the decision. So why is it that the feelings of wanting a baby never go away? My logical brain knows it's not possible and I really have no desire to go through the teenage years ever again. So why am I envious when I see or read about people having babies? I am envious of 3am feedings, diaper changes and baby baths (oh how I love to give a baby a bath...nothing better in this world). I'm envious of bedtime stories, lullabies and rocking chairs. My logical mind knows it's over for me, but my heart doesn't know that. It still hurts sometimes...to know that I will never again feel a child in my womb, never again feel labor and the wonderful, beautiful feeling of the first time you lay eyes on your child (that feeling alone makes up for every transgression, traffic ticket, broken curfew or little white lie along the way).

So, here I sit, feeling melancholy. I'm not sure this post accomplished what I was hoping for, but it sure felt good to write it down and get it out. One thing is for certain...I love my kids more than life itself, and that will never change...no matter how old they get.

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