Love being a mother?

Interesting question….When I first fell pregnant with A I thought I was doing the least original thing in the world. And I was. Not that I live on the cutting edge even a significant fraction of the time but I have always been keen not to go with the flow. Having a baby seemed to be jumping right on the big mummy wave with a million other women and yet trying to come up with my own surf-board moves.

I left my mother’s group because the shiny happy faces and the ‘don’t you just love being a mother?’ songs of praise didn’t fit with me. I did love A and he was the easiest baby anyone could hope for. I had nothing to complain about but it’s not that simple. And I figured I was surrounded by simple women if they thought like that.

Women seem to get and be so precious about being a mother and about their children. They forget that it’s been done so many times before that we have now have a human race that will struggle to die out. We aren’t unique and neither are our children.

But strangely children are. Unique. Yours are. So are mine. That’s the strange part.

Despite the fact you’re doing what everyone else is, you still experience a joy shared by no other. Every single mothering or parenting experience is unique despite the fact that all babies feed, toilet train, learn to walk, enjoy sleepless spells, learn to ride a bike, start school, lose a tooth, fall so hard they can’t get up…you know what I mean.

I was never the mother type. I didn’t want to be the mother type. I knew I’d love my kids but I didn’t know I’d love being with my kids and that’s a big difference. And I do. They are the coolest people to hang out with. They make me laugh, they are unabashedly affectionate and they make me show affection in a way I’ve never before been comfortable. They challenge me intellectually (no one who negotiated with 3 year old demanding a packet of M&Ms in a long queue of frazzled Kmart shoppers can tell me that it’s not a real exercise of the mind), and they make me consider my ethics on a daily basis.

I have two boys. I’ve decided I want them to be feminists. I don’t really know what that means yet but I know I want them to grow up recognising the value of women and appreciating that value despite the fact our family only has one (s0 far anyway!). In this sense, I know that their moral framework, their appreciation of social justice, fairness and even their ability to empathise, for a large part, comes from me (and C of course). That is a huge responsibility but an exciting challenge and god knows I’m always looking for challenges.

I thought parenting was the easy way out when you couldn’t decide what career you wanted (ughm…me). No way. It’s the opposite. It requires the selflessness and patience of a monk. It forces you to put things into perspective on a daily basis. To fight the important battles and to acknowledge that ultimately your own needs come second.

I always thought that I would fight hard to keep the ‘real’ me alive when the boys came along. I would dedicate enough ‘me’ time that those things that made me who I was would not burn out. Now I realise that everything changes. There’s no me before or me to come. There is only me right now. And that’s the way it’s always been. I still love writing, reading my books, flicking through cooking magazines, watching trash on my computer, travelling, sharing a bottle (or four) with my beautiful friends, debating with my funkorama bookclub and cuddling my C. But somehow, and I’m not sure how it happened, these things are not so important now.

A and S – you rock my world. Your world and your lives are the real things that get me goin’. Thank you.

p1240122

Her Bad Mother is starting Around the World in 80 Clicks and I figured Australia had to have some involvement. We’re a pretty enlightened bunch down here. Not too shabby and doing motherhood big time with a massive baby boom. A friend introduced me to this blog which is an highly entertaining account of single-motherhood goin’ beach style in Sydney.

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