Friday, March 23, 2018

What is motherhood, really?

I was making lunches one morning and I could hear kids fighting in the other room.

"It would be so much easier to be a Mom," I thought to myself, "if I didn't have any kids."

You've heard that one before right?

I've really been thinking through some of my frustrations with motherhood lately. One thing I realized was that, what I wanted when I grew up, was to play house. I watch my daughters play house. They put the baby in the cute crib and feed her her bottle. And then they run off to play and come back later. The baby is still in the same spot, unmoved, ready to be played with again.

I thought that when I grew up, being a stay-at-home mom would mean playing house, except everything is real. I would pack their cute little lunches, and dress them up and curl their hair. And I could play with them whenever I was in the mood.

I've come to realize that belief in this fantasy, no matter how subconscious, is keeping me from my real work.

It's this fantasy that makes me yell at my kids when they are not getting along. You're supposed to be getting along! I think in my head. That's what I had imagined you would do. 

The problem with this fantasy is that it leaves no place for agency. It does not allow for children to make their own choices and make mistakes. Children are not pawns in a dream, they are real people who came to this earth with their own strengths and weaknesses. And as they are just beginning on this journey, they will make a lot of mistakes, and have so much to learn. Children don't need a someone to yell at them when they are not getting along, they need someone to instruct them on how to get along: a mother. Maybe it's time for me to stop wishing for things and start mothering people.

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