I wake up in a shock, breathing heavy, flustered, I throw the covers off and suddenly I am sitting straight up. I have had another weird dream, that makes no sense and that is fading away fast, so I won’t even be able to analyse it later. Anyways, the rude awakening is not so much about the dream but more about the fact that it’s a school day. No matter what time the alarm goes off I know the chaos that lays ahead of me.
The crazy morning shuffle with three boys, is exactly that, crazy! Someone can’t find their shirt. Someone else doesn’t want breakfast. Someone crawled back under the covers. “Oi, it’s late! Go brush your teeth,” I yell to the one under the covers. Lunch boxes, check. Water bottles, check. School bags, check. All three dressed, shoes and socks, check. Quick look in the mirror after I’m fully dressed, laptop, handbag and out the door we go. We shuffle our little ones like mama ducks and their ducklings into the lake of life as the day begins.
When you become a mom, you may feel like your identity gets stripped away, not immediately of course, it’s a little piece at a time, slowly and gradually when you look back you don’t even know when it happened. So sometimes when you take a moment to ponder your situation you actually do think it was overnight. Perhaps, you say to yourself… “What happened?” You were this person with wants and needs, goals and ambitions, uniqueness and flare… and now it’s all about being a mom? I recently read some article in relation to this dilemma, then I stumbled on a ted talk on a similar topic and then while watching the comedy series Black-ish something struck me.
So, the mom Rainbow Johnson has a new baby and her maternity leave has come to an end. Her husband is trying to persuade her to continue to stay at home and not go back to work and she is adamant to go back because it is part of her identity and she needs to hold on to that little bit of independence. Anyways, she struggles with the concept of losing something that made up some of her identity but in the end came to the realisation that she actually wanted to stay at home.
The thing that struck me is that despite our gripes and grapples with being a working mom vs stay at home mom. The exhaustion, the nagging kids, the constant provision of food and care, the school projects and shuffling around to the endless amount of activities and events… at the end of the day… being a mom is my first job. Anything else I do in life does come secondary. Whatever I do to fill my time with to de-stress, remain sane, or maintain financial wellness, I am a mom first and actually I really love it 🙂
Every time we leave them somewhere new or go to work, the mom guilt strikes! You feel a pang in your heart for having to go or stay or leave them. Even on morning school runs like today where we are finally all out of the house and outside the school gates. As they plant mandatory kisses on my face, a small sense of panic overtakes me. Will they be ok? Do they have enough lunch? Did they remember put on some sunblock? Is everything packed away in the bag, from last night’s homework?
We torture ourselves with this guilt. We over compensate for other people, even. If someone was mean to them or if they got scolded or misbehaved and punished, we’re in their rooms in a flash pacifying and making sure they’re ok and not emotionally damaged or scarred. This fear/guilt accompanies everything. Do dads go through this? To me it seems like Dads have a guilt free relationship with their children. Like, “Hey, I contributed to bringing you into the world… you owe me.” They encourage them to take risks, climb trees, stumble and fall, sometimes even laugh out loud when the kid takes a tumble 🙂
As moms, we can’t help ourselves. To some extent we do create our chaos. We try to compensate for all these periphery things. Try to shelter them and protect them. Try to make sure they remember everything they’re supposed to. Absolutely relish in when they excel at something and take full credit for it 🙂 Give them extra classes for this or that. I guess in some respects we have to learn to accept some things for what they are and let our kids just be.
As much as we try to deny it or escape it. We love our jobs as moms. Being a Mom does define me, and it has taught me so much about myself. I have discovered mad organisational skills with trying to manage all our schedules, I have explored so much of my creative side with all the school projects, and I have uncovered an unlimited supply of patience, love and hugs and kisses. In this job I have learnt all I know about life, I have discovered internal strength, compassion, passion, empathy, love, joy, conviction, happiness, determination and faith.
Faith that allows me to be grateful and cherish this life and this love and this mom who is just trying to do the best she can.
Once the seed of faith takes root, it cannot be blown away, even by the strongest wind. Now that’s a blessing – Rumi