I Am Who I Need to Be

22 10 2012

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Before becoming a real-life parent, I had utopian visions of the kind of mom I would be to my unborn children.  I didn’t want to be “normal” by the standards in which I was raised.  My kids would eat dessert first.  They would volunteer in homeless shelters and be like that one kid I saw on Oprah who raised money to put a well in a waterless village in Africa.  We would forgo a trip to Disney World and opt for a trip to Europe that would cost almost the same.  My kids wouldn’t have video games, and would prefer playing in dirt to watching T.V.  We’d have an old VW Westfalia equipped with a tiny kitchen, that we’d use to travel the country on our quest to visit as many “World’s Largest” things as we could- World’s Largest Booming Prairie Chicken, World’s Largest Cow, World’s Largest Ball of Twine.  We would eat organic fruits and vegetables, boycott McDonald’s, and buy food for donation every time we went grocery shopping.  My kids would love art and we’d spend hours together drawing, painting, and sculpting at the kitchen table. 

Then I became a real-life mom.  Those utopian dominoes started to fall while reality set in.  I didn’t realize how much so until recently, when our good friends came to visit with their three kids.  After a late night filled with a bit too much Jeremiah Weed, I was really tired the next morning.  It was more difficult than usual to smile and keep on my best mom face, even though I was really trying.  I was not in the best mood, and my friend called me out on it, saying that she felt I was emitting anger.  I was surprised, because I truly wasn’t angry and I felt awful that she thought I was.  I started to reminisce about how carefree and fun I used to be and how “all business” I’ve become, and I felt sad.  In fact, I was really sad because at that moment I felt like a militant mom.  I felt bad that I’d made my friends uncomfortable by radiating anger that I genuinely didn’t feel, and I was also mourning the mom I had wanted to be.  The fun, easy-going, happy, positive, smiley mom I’d had every intention of becoming was nowhere to be found.  Where was she?  What happened to her? 

After I apologized to my friend and some time had passed, I began to realize where that mom had gone.  I conclude that I’ve adapted to my children, becoming the mother that they—especially Cameron—need.  Instead of mourning who I’m not, I need to celebrate the fact that I’ve become the mother that my kids need.  Yes, there are still remnants of the mom I planned to be left inside the mom I am. 

When I look more closely at that “perfect mom” I’d developed in my head, I can see that she’s still there, but just not in the full form in which I’d expected to find her.  We do have dessert first, although a lot less often that I’d originally planned due to sugar buzzes and the fact that if they eat dessert first, they don’t always eat the healthy meals we make.  We try to be humanitarians, even though we haven’t installed any international wells, but we must be doing something right because Amelia asked for food for people who didn’t have enough food for her birthday. We’ve never been to Disney World, but unfortunately we’ve never been to Europe with our kids either.  Quite honestly, after traveling with kids, I see why people opt for Disney World- a vacation that caters to children seems logistically better than organizing two young children to ride trains and carry backpacks while not appearing to be obnoxious Americans. We do have the Wii and use it as a family game, and I admit that it’s actually fun when monitored.  Most of the time my kids would most definitely choose to play in dirt over watching TV, and while we don’t have a Westfalia, we do fill our SUV (another one of the things I never wanted to have) up to the brim to go camping as many times as we can during the summer months, and have been fortunate enough to see the World’s Largest Northern Pike, as well as average-sized petting farms, and minimally populated beaches.  We eat as much organic food as we can afford, but we do (apprehensively) eat McDonald’s once in a great while.  However, the kids are well aware that it’s bad for you, has little to no nutritional value, and is a “once in awhile” food.  At the library, Cameron once told another child that McDonald’s is bad for him and he shouldn’t go there.  We donate food, just not one item every time we shop, and while Cameron doesn’t typically enjoy sitting and drawing, he and I did an art night together at his school just last night, and I discovered that paint is his medium of choice.  Yes, perhaps I am not the poster-child of the perfect mother I’d created and expected of myself, but she’s still in there a little; I haven’t completely let her go.  I am confident that I am the mom I’m supposed to be, and I can take comfort in knowing that I will be able to continue adapting as a mom, without leaving behind who I really am.

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One response

23 10 2012
Kathy

Wow….you get it!! You are officially a great Mom in every sense! You have made your children aware of life and and packed their little bit of time here so far….full of adventures and life lessons. You live for your children, for your family. That’s what being a parent is all about and you do it beautifully. Your husband and children ADORE you and I do too! So proud of my girl…..Mom.

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