Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It's still mama in any language

It's fascinating to me that in almost every language the word for mother is the similar and the word for father can vary so much.   Of course because I love research and word origins I had to look it up before I wrote this blog.   It is tied to the sounds a baby makes and particularly around the sound they make often in their babble for hunger, the addition of breast feeding murmur (or bottle feeding if that is how you had to go) is also an addition to this "mmmmamamma" sound.  At the very core mama is the main part of their survival, their comfort and their feeding at the time they are totally reliant on another person to do this.

Now fast forward to say modern day teenage years and mama becomes Ma or eye roll Mother and it is the symbol not of nourshiment often but of everything that is impeding you from doing every stupid thing that as teenager you know you cannot live without, but do.

Go a little further and you suddenly realize that most mothers were not your nemesis and hey looky that as you become a mom yourself they actually suddenly seem to have useful advice, who knew ?? Take few more steps in years and they need you in ways you needed them when you were more helpless and can they really be mortal?

As mother's day approaches I am awed and flawed with what I am as a mother myself.  This balance of not reigning in your instincts to protect them paired with the need to help them grow and be independent thinkers and held together with a love that you could not imagine is hard to capture into words.  I was not one of those people who loved babies from an early age, I did not babysit, did not have any interest frankly in holding anyone's baby through my twenties.  Sure they are cute and have a unique sweet smell but they were for others to coo over.  This girl smiled politely and moved on.  I am convinced it was paired with my underlying fear also of what kind of mother would I be.

I am an independent person who hesitates to rely on anyone, working on it- not easy, so what did that mean for my ability to give that up for another being?  I was not even sure I wanted children until my 30s when I had a relationship with a man who was just truly the whole package.  Smart, attractive, interesting, well rounded, thought I was perfect exactly as I was but there to support and push me to be the person I wanted to evolve too.  It happened after I broke up with the man who would later become my husband.  It was a whirlwind romance and then he told me he knew he would never want children.  Partially due to our age difference, which hadn't been a thing for us until then even though it was considerable, and mostly because he just knew it was not what he wanted.

Many judged him negatively for this, I didn't.  I understood and appreciated the honesty.  It made me realize that knowing I had the option to have them was a lot more in line with what I wanted then knowing I would not have any.

I do not regret ending that relationship, it is a great memory and to be loved like that is part of the reason I grew in many ways.  In ways that add to the mother I am.

Being a mother these days though is hard in different ways than it was for our parents.  It is a never ending list of things you are expected to do and do well that we so easily agree to, because we do not want our children to think they are not worth it and that is what we are told will happen.  We need to be nutritionists not just common sense food suppliers, we need to have project management ability to ensure that we give or have found ways for our kids to get to a well rounded set of activities (read more than one), we need to understand science and question because we are bombarded with incorrect information about everything from sunscreen to medicine, we need to have a good knowledge of what our kids are doing 24/7, what the latest technology is, the apps and shows they watch and if we cannot do this without also being successful, fit, well read, informed about all topics -- well then we are not really being the best mothers we can be.   Or so "they" tell us.

I am a dedicated mom, as are the women I know, but give me a break.  I try and balance their food by cooking most of their meals with mostly organic food but McDonald's is not crack and the occasional meal from there will not doom them.  Do I think they will will suddenly fall apart just because I got non-organic milk here and there?  NO.   I encourage their interests and cheer them on at their big moments but they need to be happy to be at their activities not for me but for themselves.  I picked physicians for them that I connect with so I do not need to do their job and get a medical degree, they encourage discussion but in the end I trust my ability to pick people who are not out to harm my children.  Apps and screen time and gaming move at the speed of light, I do not.  So I have to rely on the fact in part that I have created a safe environment for my boys to share what they are doing paired with the random checking of their devices.  I enjoy working and I am not a size 4, good for you should you be, but I am conscious of what I eat and how I look.   It is a struggle and I do not need to hide that from them but tell them it is ok to come to me when they do.

I am teaching my boys to embrace their mistakes, and learn from them, just like I do.  To enjoy the moment instead of checking off the box and most of all to know that I love them unconditionally. To find that person that makes them feel like they too are the total package.

The mother - child relationship is not an easy one so this Mother's Day enjoy remembering those things that your mother did with you that made you the person you were.  If you lost your mother then share those memories with someone you care for.  If you chose not to be a mother share your strength to be a woman who embraces that choice and shows the future generation how to be comfortable with who they are not who society says they should be.  If you could not have children then be the woman who seeks and gives support to others in the same situation - that is motherhood too.

Most of all I am embracing the fact that to be a good mother you have to appreciate the other women in your life and be there for them.  For moral support, for sharing of pick ups and drops offs and for lots of laughter and reminders that we are all learning on the job.  Thank you for your friendship and the wine ladies.

Happy Mother's Day

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