Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The mother quandry

A wonderful friend sent me a book about motherhood and that very uneasy relationship that can sometimes form as a child becomes an adult. Here is a quote that I'm really pondering:
"Woman who are mothers are judged more by their parenting "successes" or "failures" than by any other area of their lives, and are held much more accountable for them than father are: for mothers, everything, it sometimes seems, is riding on how the kids turn out."
I'm trying to read it both as a mother and as a daughter. I realize that those successes and failures can only be measured by our internal meter. I mean, if you as a person value religion very highly, than having a child that doesn't follow that religion would seem like a failure on your part. I, for one, value education at the tip top of my list. So, when my children reject doing well in school or simply don't care - it's a failure to me. What I count in that arena as failure, I believe others would count as great successes (meaning for some parents and kids a C would be great and the parent would be pleased and proud - that would not be the case in my house). While I try desperately to separate what I hold dear and what my children set as priorities - that is a double edged sword and I seem to be cut by it a lot.
I'm saddened in some ways that as a daughter, I have not completed the dreams I know my mother had for me. Then I realize (now that I'm a mother) that she must be saddened as well. I hope that all mothers can find a reason to be proud of thier children as adults. That is my greatest hope for myself. I know people who have had children (mostly in the AD world) totally walk away from the straight path that was offered to them. I don't blame the mother (or father) at all - but, perhaps this is because I know these people and I'm walking in their shoes. I have wondered how my friends and family would react if one of my children fails in society's view. If there is jail time (I'm certainly not saying that is where we are headed - I'm thinking positive for now) - but would I be shunned for that by the general public? I believe that I would be. While we all have differing beliefs, there are some that are pretty much society wide. You should work and create a life for yourself and if you don't - didn't your parents do something wrong? Isn't your mother to blame?
Being a stay-at-home mom may play into this. I really don't have a measurement tool for myself outside my children and my home. Those are my responsibilities and I'm not making light of that. It's the most important thing to me to do the best I can do by my family. At this time, that is a full time job. But, I wonder if I had an outside job, would I view myself in a less harsh light? Needless to say, I'm not at the top of my game as a parent. DS2 has had 3 really good days...yet, I found myself playing that down while I should be reveling in it. Three in a row is very rare around here. At the same time, DD is falling apart. They are both seeing a child psychiatrist in February and I am going in with my guns blazing and truth on my side. I have made the mental decision that I will get them help no matter in what form. Yes, medicating them is hard for me, but if that is what's, perhaps, going to give them a better chance - then I'm doing it! I watched DS2 take his meds today and I didn't feel like making him throw up (ha)...

So, for all you mothers out there - may you feel blessed today in whatever you do...may you realize that while your children are a great ruler for your life, they are not the only one and you are doing all you can I'm sure (and may I remember that too)!

1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate to this post. It is so hard to separate effort and results when it comes to parenting. And yet you really have to. You can do all the right things and still have kids that choose all the wrong things. And it isn't your fault at all. I don't know if you are religious, but something I like to think about is the story of the "third of the hosts of heaven" who followed Satan. God by virtue of being God is a perfect parent. And a third of his children rejected Him. Kind of puts things in perspective for me, anyway.