Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Mom Delusion

Sometimes I hate being a mom...

Just thinking that makes me feel awful and here I am writing it down for all to see. I don't usually voice this feeling because I never want to come off sounding ungrateful or for those of us with no sense of nuance to think I mean that I hate being a mom ALL the time. That is certainly not the case.

However, there are those days, and sometimes weeks, in which I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, irritable and tired of hearing "Mommy!" I get tired of being needed all the time. It's exhausting. At home I'm needed by my kids, my husband and my pets and at work I'm needed by customers (server/bartender). If I get around to my own needs it a huge accomplishment!

What I've realized lately is that there is nothing wrong with feeling this way. I don't have to be perfect for everyone. I had an idea in my head when I decided that I was 'ready' to be a mom and I now refer to that idea as the 'mom delusion.' I thought that, in some way, becoming a mother would complete me or would give meaning to my life. I thought that I would be amazing at parenting and not make any of the mistakes I've seen other parents make. I thought I'd be able to make my children behave and listen to me. Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at that one. Hahahahahahahaha!

Also, as a Christian woman at the time, I believed that a woman's purpose in life was to be a godly wife and mother. Now I know that we each create our own purpose and it can take so many amazing forms. Being a mom doesn't have to be one of those (or a wife for that matter). A woman without children is not less of a woman.

When I came to that realization I had to ask myself the questions, "Do I regret having kids?" "Am I one of those women who would have thrived without children holding her back from her accomplishments?" "Does my depression and anxiety prevent me from being a good mother?" "Am I just passing my mental illness on to the next generation?" Ultimately, the answer to those questions doesn't change the fact that I already have kids, but it was a really difficult thing for me to face, at the time. I concluded that if I had never had kids I would have lived the rest of my life wishing that I had. My boys have been a challenge for me (mostly due to my mental illness and difficulty coping), but more than that they have brought unspeakable joy to my life. I do not regret having them.

I would like to address this 'mom delusion' though (it could also easily be the 'dad delusion'). Before we have kids of our own we all think we know what parenting is going to be like and what it's going to mean for our lives. We read a couple parenting books and think we have all the answers. We listen to pastors and mentors in our lives who tell us that children are a blessing from God and that it will enrich our lives. As young women, we're taught that we were created to bear and nurture children. And so on and so forth... We all have different ideas and expectations. This is just a general list of some of the things I believed or was taught.

The truth of the matter is that every single person is different and their skills, their needs and their purpose are different from one person to the next. Parenting is hard and should be approached with respect and fear by prospective parents. Some people are more equipped with the skills and patience needed to be wonderful parents and some people should stick to what they're good at and not be pressured by family, friends or anyone else to have children that they don't want.

I used to think that I wanted a large family of at least 4 or 5 kids. I realized, after dropping my 'mom delusion,' that I was quite happy with just my 2 beautiful boys and that was plenty for me. I no longer believe I'm called to bear fruit and populate the Earth. It turns out that the Earth is already over-populated! I'm going to turn my attention to my 2 boys and try to help them to become the best humans they can possibly be and, in the process, they will probably help me to become the best human I can be.

Sometimes I love being a mom...

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