” Wow ”, I said, “How do you find all that time to read”, I ask. She says, “Well, I don’t have children to take care of. When I did, I didn’t have time to read either.” Validation there for the taking. Women are the best supporters and the worst critics.
My Mom was a woman of the 60’s. I am a woman of the 80’s. We were pioneers in freedom and equality for women. Feminism and bra burning. Corporate ladders and the Working Girl with padded shoulders. I could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let him forget he’s a man. And sometimes I find our modern day’s concepts of girl power are still sorta Spice-girl-esque, we’re strong together wearing cute clothing. It’s better than nothing I suppose.
But when we’re alone, left to our own circling thought processes of fear and bottomless devotion to our families, we lose sight again and again, or maybe we never had truly had sight, of where we start and stop and the rest of the world begins. Our expectations of ourselves are to be superhuman and somehow that never includes the stuff we do daily.
I fear that we’ve accepted and embodied all the perfectionistic self-hate causing crap from Suburban Disney subplots that we are now our own perfect persecutors and jailers. Who needs to keep the woman down when she does such a good job of it herself? Add some extra nasty anger/shame/guilt wars between working and staying home Moms and sit back and watch the fairer females make jackasses of themselves depleting their and their daughter’s power all for the prize of pretty, wealthy, and skinny.
I struggle to feel my empowerment often when the relentlessness of parenthood gets to me. I have been desperate at times to prove I am more than “just a mother”. Because perhaps I demean this job like so many others. Until lovely people who used to be Moms or mental health care professionals remind me that raising healthy centered children is a gift to the world. That yes, it’s hard and mind-numbing and truly a superhuman thing , if only we Moms would see it as such.
Stay aware of yourself and the stories you tell. I am constantly aware that the story I live right in front of my daughter is the one, bad or good, that she will have permission to live herself. The kind compassionate mother I think I am to my children will only be as good as the one I am to myself. And my value is not determined by my achievements nor my salary. My value is who I am as a friend, a mother, and a human being. Only I can take that away from me.
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