The hardest part of being a mother is trying to be a mother.
Let me clarify.
The hardest part of being a mother is trying to be the mother everyone tells you you must be.
For me, being a neo-riot grrrl/feminist with a strong will and an even stronger spirit, it was particularly hard. I wanted desperately to be the mother that I read about in parenting magazines, but I was dealing with raging hormones, leaking breasts, and a sneaking suspicion that that mother with the glossy hair and Ann Taylor clothing wasn’t who I was supposed to be.
I’ve found that it’s a little bit harder for an offbeat mother to feel comfortable with her mothering and the way others perceive a mother to look, sound, and act like.
I remember taking my daughter to a mommy and me story time at the local library. I was excited because she would get to interact with other children. We entered the library and walked back to the childrens’ section where I found a circle of mothers and children and the librarian-about eighty years old- all looking at me with such disdain I immediately felt shame for still looking the way I did before I had my daughter.
My tattoos were visible, my piercings were still in and my hair was streaked with pink dye. I felt like running but knew I had to stick it out for my daughter. She enjoyed herself and despite my own issues, we even went back again.
Far too often we’re expected as women to immediately give up dreams and hobbies because it’s in the “best interest” of our children. I was told on numerous occasions that I should drop out of college because my main focus should be on my children … and that if I didn’t they would suffer.
I think what would really inhibit my ability to parent my children is giving up my dreams. Not only would this teach them that when the going gets tough the tough get weak, but I would feel resentment toward them for no fault of their own.
I will remain the same person that I was before I had Madelyne and Casey, albeit with stretch marks and a floppy abdomen, not only on the exterior but the interior as well. Dreams and goals are what hold us to a purpose in life and these will remain the same as well.
The best piece of advice I can give is to forget the magazines and commercials. Such things are created for mass consumption — not for individual use. Do what feels right for not only your children, but yourself.
The best part about being a mother is being yourself and a mother.