Thursday, February 25, 2016

It's all about choices

Recently someone I don't really talk to very often sent me an instant message while I was at work.  She and her husband are talking about having children and she said "You seem to have taken to this motherhood thing and really have it together, so how do you handle life as a working mom?"  Initially, I'll admit, that comment and the question that followed both surprised me.  Partially because I look at myself and my life and I feel like I am the last person who would say I "have it together" but also because I don't know how to answer the question of how I handle being a working mom.  The answer to that, like so many other things I've had to handle in my life is that I  It's a thing that has to happen, so I make it happen.  I don't know that there's any sort of secret mystery to it.  I just do the best I can with what I have.  That's what I've done my whole life.  Motherhood has never really struck me as being any different.

But, at the core of what she was talking about, I understood.  I understood that she, like me, was sitting there freaking out about all of the what ifs, and the fear that you might not be good at it, or you might resent your kid, or you might have the kid and realize you never really wanted a kid, or things could get bad and you'll have another person to consider.  Basically the whole early stage of this blog, that's what she's really getting at.  And for once, I could say that I truly get it.  I truly get all of those things, because it was me not so very long ago.  Truthfully, there are days when it's still me.

In the long run, though, it's all about choices.  You choose who you want to be as a parent.  You choose what your focus is.  You choose who you want to be as a parent.  My husband sometimes goes out to lunch with a friend who brings along her daughter.  He said that it's nearly impossible to have a conversation with this friend during lunch because her focus is entirely devoted to her daughter the whole time.  That's fine, that's her choice as a parent, but it does make things difficult.  My husband and I are a bit more hands off on that front.  We set my daughter up with her food, we talk and more or less interact without focusing on her too much unless she truly needs something.  We feel that it teaches her that she's not actually the center of the universe, and that's ok.  That's us.  That's our choice.  But the bottom line is that both are choices.  So when you hear the mom who is like "Oh, I have a baby, I can't even take a shower" or "Unless I'm leaving the house, I don't get out of pajamas anymore because I'm a mom and it's not worth it" or "I don't leave the house during the week because putting on a bra is too much work these days", those are all choices.  Those people are choosing to view the world and their lives this way.  And it might work for them.  It would never work for me.  If I don't get out of my pajamas, I feel like a lazy slug.  If I don't leave the house for a few days, I go utterly insane.  I'm learning my daughter is a bit like that too, since she spent a whole week at home with my husband last week and he never left the house with her so by the end of the week she was super cranky.  When I asked her on Friday if she wanted to go bye-bye after we decided to go out for dinner, she practically raced me to her coat and we couldn't get her into the car fast enough.  That's us.  But I choose not to be the mom who views getting dressed and wearing a bra as too much work on top of parenting.  I choose not to be the mom who never leaves the house.  I choose not to be the mom who makes their kid their main focus in all situations because it's not who I am.

The nice thing that no one tells you about parenting is that you get to make those choices.  You can look at the day and think "Today it's going to be too much work to pack up the kid and go run errands" or you can look at the day and think "I have to run errands today and the kid is just going to have to deal with that".  Sure, you might have to reshape things a bit like "Ooh, this is too close to nap time, maybe we'll save this last errand for tomorrow" but it doesn't mean you can't do the things you want or need to do most of the time.  You get to choose what sort of parent you want to be.  You get to choose to be the soccer mom, if that's your groove, or to be a crazy crunchy mom who eats their placenta or whatever, or to be somewhere in between all of it.  But whoever you were before you had a kid, you can still be just as much that person.  You can still be the person who goes nuts being in the house for too many days and has to get out, you can still be the person you want to be, and chances are if you stay true to that person, you'll find your kid has a  bit of that in them as well.  You don't have to be someone else just because the world expects you to be.

At the end of the day, you choose, and knowing that can be very freeing.


Post a Comment