Monday, August 23, 2010

Everybody's Mother??

So is it just me, or does everyone seem to need more mothering nowadays? When did everyone start crying for mommies well beyond the years that it's acceptable to do it? Seriously, when did people just decide, nah forget personal responsibility that's just too much work. If things don't go my way, I'll just whine that it's not my fault because someone else should have don't it for me.

I truly hope that I raise my own children to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. I would hate to envision them out there in the world, just balancing their lives on the edge of excuses. Excuses not to live their lives the way they want. Excuses that allow them to blame others for anything that doesn't go their way. I can hear the explanations of adults in childish words "But it's not my fault mommy, it's my boss's fault for not anticipating that I might need extra time getting that project done."

It seems like if it isn't the "after the fact complainers" I hear these days it's the "can't you read my mind cause I sure expect you to" people. Holly hell people, have your forgotten your mothers long quoted mantra "Use Your Words." If people don't know what you want then you can't complain when you don't get it. If you wait for people to magically guess what you need or want then you're in for a long and disappointing life.

Here's a novel idea that just may work- ask, just ask and give others a chance to help you. Also expect that you still may not get everything you ask for, but you definitely won't get anything if you never ask. After reading "The Five Languages of Love," I agree with the author, you can make requests of loved ones, but not demands and that means that sometimes they will not be fulfilled. But the bottom line is, it's better to have someone want to fulfill your requests than someone who resentfully complies with an order. The workplace is a whole different battlefield, but I think the same idea rings true. If you make a respectful request, you are much more likely to be happy with the result than if you issue a bottom line demand. All people want is to just feel respected; that's pretty much it.

Lastly, I hope to teach my children to value and respect words for they can hurt or heal depending on how you choose to use them. I hear grown adults all the time wielding hurtful comments at each other without batting an eye. They have no idea how long those words live in a person's mind or heart. Words that hurt can spread like a virus attacking self-esteem and making us ever more numb to the healing words. Hurtful words drown out the good ones. I read once that it takes twice as many nice words to balance out the effect of hurtful words and I believe it. I hope that I can adhere to all these lovely ideas because I know that I'm not immune to forgetting these lessons, but being the mamma of two little ones sure gives me an ever present reminder.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Motherhood The New Career!

I have decided that we ought to be paid to be mothers. We work from sun up to sun down and even in our sleep we hear phantom babies/children crying or simply calling for us. Even the woman, like me, who can sleep through most anything will wake up at the smallest muffled cry when she has children. I can't tell you how many times I've been in the shower and heard my son or daughter cry for me only to realize that in fact it was perfectly quiet and they are both still tucked in and sleeping peacefully. What I'm getting at is that motherhood doesn't shut off, even in our unconsciousness.

If you work "outside the home" and you're a mother then you really work two full time jobs. In my case one and a half. Since I work "outside the home" part time you can count that as my half a job. I hate that 1950s term "outside the home." Work is NOT a place; it's a state of being. It's a to do list that never ends, replenishing itself the second one item gets crossed off. That is motherhood -WORK.

Even if a person LOVES their job. At the end of the day it's still a JOB. So if you have a CAREER is it different? Is the To Do List outlined in glitter? Do you skip to work? Do you hum while doing menial tasks like filing papers, typing notes or sitting in a marathon of meetings? My guess would be a big fat NO, but then again I have a JOB. What that means is that I work for the paycheck, the occassional pat on the head if it's offered and the chance to keep my brain from turning into baby mush. I often wonder if I would forget how to speak "Adult" if I were home by myself with my kids all day. I like my JOB, but I know there is no UP; there is nothing to work toward in terms of advancement. Is that a CAREER? Wanting to move up toward something better, towards a position more full of responsibility and one hopes pay??

Is a CAREER a calling, a strong desire to do something you would do even if money were no object? Is a CAREER the willingness to step into a role (sometimes knowing that you will need to grow into that role) that is more responsibility and one hopes more rewarding as well. If that is the case, then why the hell is MOTHERHOOD not a CAREER? It's perfectly clear to me that we do it, the never ending to do list that is motherhood, with money being no object because it doesn't pay a dime. I happen to think the world would be a lot better place if it were a CAREER. There would be a hell of lot less war, crime, greed, and corruption.

It would be great to get paid for all the work I actually do. I am shaping a future generation and I do it while balancing a bank account that is always teetering on the edge of empty. That means that I'm constantly balancing many other things as well- my marriage, my children, my home, and my job. My responsibilities are hovering around me every second of the day. I'm proud to be able to contribute to my family's income, but I know that if I lost that income I could not afford to stay home and simply raise my kids. So it absolutely sucks on those days when my life and my responsibilites to all those that I love feels like a JOB. If MOTHERHOOD was given the proper respect it deserves, and if it paid just half of the amount good parenting would save our society in punishment of crime, then it would definitely be a CAREER.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Triage On The Parenthood Battle Field

If you have more than one child you have now entered the fun triage zone of the parenthood battle field. There comes a day usually early after you bring home baby number two when suddenly both kids are crying at the same time, and here comes the instant triage scenario: You do a mental checklist, trying to come up with an assessment of which child needs you most urgently at that moment. Is one child hurt and the other simply lonely? Is one child hungry and one is tired and cranky?

The mental checklist is long and we mothers go through it at a supremely fast rate. To outsiders it may look like we are playing favorites when we quickly rush to one child's side over another, but what outsiders don't know is that we fight the war of guilt that consumes us all the time. It's all because we had the audacity to have and love more than one child, all the while knowing that we are simply one person with the limitations of being one single person who can not possibly do all things for all children all the time. Then we find ourselves begging our children to wait, be patient, hurry up, quiet down, behave, the list goes on and on. All because once your family goes from "one child" to "one more child" we have inadvertantly given our children the upper hand. Now we are out numbered.

When one child is sick the choice may seem easy. You go to the child who is sick first. But life and motherhood are not so simple. Just because one child may need you a lot more, you still must tend to the other or others. My heart goes out to women who face impossible choices every day, who carry guilt that they can not untangle from their love and devotion.

I guess all we can do is remind them, remind ourselves, to look up from our medical kits and our bandages and our checklists to see that there are other nurses and doctors in this triage tent of ours. That love can come from more places than we can possibly imagine and though the feeling of responsibility seems so overwhelmingly ours alone, it simply is not. Our children get love and guidance from our close and extended family, friends, friends of family, co-workers and neighbors.

I think that because mothers are responsible for our children from the moment of conception a part of us never lets go of the ENORMITY of that responsiblity, but sometimes, just sometimes it's ok to allow ourselves to step back and let someone else take over. It's ENORMOUSLY important for us to relinquish the responsibilty to our spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, friend or anyone who loves us enough to take some of the responsibility off our plate. We, as mothers, can not afford to look up from our checklists one day to see that it is no longer our children on the triage cot, but ourselves.