Thursday, 20 January 2011

To be honest...

When someone says "to be honest...", you know something you don't want to hear is about to be spoken. At the moment I am feeling very challenged to be honest with myself about who I really am rather what I think or hoped I would be. It is upsetting to realise that I had such a strong idea of what I was going to be like when I became Ella's Mum but to discover I am not like that at all.

I spent quite a few years thinking about what kind of mother I would be. I was going to be a mother who stayed at home, made all the meals from scratch, was full of energy and creative ideas for playing, would be always patient and would pop out hoards of children one after another. I had even got my head around the idea of owning a people mover (loser cruiser as my hubby affectionately calls them). But I am not that mother.

It was easy to imagine myself in a future which didn't yet exist without the realities of daily life. It is funny really to think about how many facts about myself and real life I was able to ignore in my day dreams of motherhood. Like sleep deprivation, boredom, frustration, mess, mess and more mess. Self doubt, and the unexpected all ruin the pretty picture I had in my head.

And now I find myself saying "to be honest" because I am trying to be courageous enough to own up to the fact that I am not the woman I imagined. I never was and never will be. And that is scary because I have ideals and if I can't live up to them, then what? Do I like the person and mother that I am? Can I let the ideals go and realise that being me and being good enough is enough? Can I silence the perfectionist and not grieve a person and future which never existed. Or will I let it steal my joy.

So to be honest, toddlers are so full on and after three days at home with Ella I look forward to going to work. Being at home is not enough and is too tough for me. I miss her but I love the company of other adults, the joy of making a difference and the creative challenge of teaching. And when I come home I am so much more present in the moments with Ella rather than wishing them away because I am tired, or overwhelmed. I have this deep sense of unease with myself over this but it is the truth. I have to be honest.

So to be honest I am not sure I would cope with more children. Maybe one, or maybe I will get a burst of energy and confidence and want more. But at the moment I stand in awe and a little shock at those Mums around me who are embarking on number two. It feels like that makes me less able as a mother but I also feel strong for knowing what is best for me and not being pressured by other's choices.

So to be honest sometimes being a mother is downright monotonous and boring. And I have to give myself a mental slap and say "pay attention" so that I can really notice Ella and who she is becoming. Because part of me wants to do something else and be somewhere else. I feel guilty admitting this but it is the truth.

So I am trying to look at my reflection in the mirror and really see who I am. Not what I wish I was, or who I think I should be. But who I am. If I can love and accept that then I feel like I spend my energy on getting on with living instead of spending it being in conflict with myself and eaten up with disappointment in who I am turning out to be. Life must be lived as I am, not as an unfufilled fantasy.


  1. Oh who among us IS the person we thought we'd be? This reminds me of a journal entry I wrote for school about what I thought I would be like in 10 years (I think I was 12 at the time). Yes, I thought I would grow up to be tall, beautiful, and a medical student. (Um, not so much!)

    I also naively thought that I would want to have babies one, two, three...babies are FUN right? I love my babies but having them I know now is more, as you say, full on than I could have imagined.

    Knowing yourself as a mother, including the fact that you are happier working, is what makes you a great mother! Never doubt that!

  2. Anonymous9:15 pm

    Dear Marion, the type of mother you describe yourself as being is just how I have imagined mother hood might be for me one day ! I know it could all turn out differently - but just to give you perspective on 'ideals'... We're all at our best in those moments of acceptance of who we really are...

    I am not a parent so my perspective is that of a teacher of children and I have seen that the happiest mother child relationships seem to be between 'well adjusted' self aware mums who connect with their kids - regardless of whether they go out to work or not - and the most stressed relationships seem to be between stressed disconnected women and their kids - whether these mums work 50 hour weeks outside the home or are at home getting stressed and overwhelmed by endless laundry!

    From where I sit it looks like that to be the best parent you can be - is still all about being the best you - being your lovely gorgeous interesting gifted and human you! I know women who stop work and never miss it - I am pretty sure that would be a fast track to crazy for me - but I won't know till I'm in that place! All I know is that if I ever had a daughter - I would want her to grow up knowing that she is a woman loved, beautiful and unique, and destined for her own special kind of greatness whatever her path... just as you are! xxxxxxxxxxx