Wednesday, October 21, 2009

a defense of motherhood, of sorts


A couple days ago I was having a discussion on motherhood with a few girls from work.

Now, in their defense, and maybe mine as well, all three of us are in our 20’s.
Two of us are married. One is single. We are all childless {wow, that sounded negative.} We are all without children at this stage of our lives.

Anyways, the conversation was brought up when a mutual friend of ours, now a stay-at-home mom was making an excuse for not keeping in touch.

“We’re just so busy around here,” she said to me.

I took it as a slap in the face.

“So am I.” I thought.

The first mistake I probably made, was to repeat our conversation to my friends. Our friends.

That was a crappy thing to do. I knew what she meant; I should’ve given her the benefit of the doubt.

But my feelings were hurt and instead I repeated it, thus bringing about the conversation of three childless girls about motherhood.

“You know, I think there are two kinds of mothers in the world,” friend #1 (married & happily childless) responded.

“There are the mothers who once their first child is born, their whole identity becomes all about the baby. They lose themselves. I hate being around those people.”

I nodded in agreement, mentally reflecting on my own friends with children.

“Then there’s the other extreme, where a woman has a baby, and nothing changes. I mean, not "nothing changes" but they keep their interests, and don’t lose themselves. The baby just becomes an addition to their live instead of taking it over.”

Again, I nodded in agreement. I have many thoughts on this subject, some of which I have written about recently in this space. I could’ve said so much, but I the moment, it was interesting just listening. To add my experiences but not my opinion. Maybe that was my second mistake.

We exchanged superbly different stories of our mothers, of friends that we categorized in one extreme or the other, of women that have found that happy medium.

“I don’t think I could ever be a stay-at-home mom,” friend #2 {sadly single} said.

"I just don’t think I could handle the boredom, the isolation. I need stimulation, people around, my own identity."

Then I chose to speak.

“I think it’s all about how you choose to mother. The balance everyone has to find,” I tried to explain, feeling vulnerable at the fact that I cannot wait to be a stay-at-home mother, in a room full of corporate-minded career women.

And I went on to elaborate, examples of certain friends I know who do an exemplary job of balancing motherhood and womanhood. Changing diapers and holding discussions on every topic under the sun. Who can hold their own in a debate over schooling decisions and in the next breath, politics.

“I can’t wait to be a full-time mom,” I said. “It’s all in what you make it.” And at that, like a bookend, the conversation ended, and we all turned around to our respective desks and continued to work.


Amie said...

Well said. Here's to you! :)

Quiet Oasis said...

I like people who can give their opinion freely and confidently even when its against what the crowd is talking about. So yay for you!

I'll give my 2 cents..... I've stayed at home since I was pregnant w/ my 1st. I missed work terribly that whole first year! But once I adjusted, became involved in one too many things :) I LOVE IT now.

I think moms say "I'm too busy" b/c #1 - I'm more exhausted than I've ever been in my life and at the end of the day, I finally have an hour to myself - but my kids are still visiting me from their beds telling me they can't sleep (so no free time for me really) #2 - now I not only have my own busy schedule to keep up with, I have my husbands AND 2 kids and all their events..... meaning at the end of the day, I more just hope I'll make it to my bed, let alone have time to catch up w/ a friend!!!!

some days I think it'd be easier to work full-time (outside the home) all day.... but I'm not sure how moms like that get anything like grocery shopping done. And also, I don't want to miss out on a second of these younger years w/ my kids.

Sorry for the essay..... :) Just throwing in a mom's perspective.

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