Friday, May 09, 2008
Mothering: Thoughts from my Heart
With Mother’s Day coming up, I have spent a lot of time thinking about mothering. I am hesitant to write this for public viewing but I will anyway. I love being a mother. Never in a million years would I have imagined at 20 that I would one day have 4 kids. I couldn’t even imagine having one child. When I was pregnant with my first, I often fretted about becoming a mother. I worried and cried: how will I be a good mother? Once my baby arrived, I fell in love with mothering. The love I felt for my child was like no other love I had ever felt. Since then three more rooms in my heart have opened up for my 3 other children. I don’t struggle with the fear of motherhood anymore. I truly love being a mother. I do struggle with my position as a stay-at-home mom. This is not a job I am qualified for. Honestly, it is very hard for me to feel satisfied in this role. I don’t think I ever “get it right.” It is so much more than it being a job that can never done. There is the constant struggle between being a “housewife” and being a “stay-at-home mom”. As a housewife, I am constantly trying to clean the house. I cannot ever seem to make progress in this area. Organization does not come easily for me. I relax best in a clean environment, so it seems I am never relaxed. I spend a great majority of my time cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and the like. My heart screams, “Is this what I am staying home for?” If my kids were in a daycare, they would have activities galore. It drives me crazy to think of the structured activities they would enjoy. Not too far back I instituted a weekly Craft/Baking Day. This was greeted with great enthusiasm from my kids. I love these days as much as the children. I long for more of this kind of dedicated time with the children. I long to feel satisfied with my position as a stay-at-home mom. When I worked, I got annual reviews. During those reviews, I would set (yearly) goals, I would get counseled on my progress toward my objectives; I would get feedback on my work. I would get constructive criticism and praise. Now, I get mostly complaints. My kids constantly point out what I am not doing. It is defeating. I remind myself that they are only kids. I know my husband appreciates my efforts. I just don’t find job satisfaction in blanket appreciation. I don’t have clear goals…though I tried to set some for myself at the beginning of the year. I cannot feel a sense of achievement because the job is so abstract. I struggle with what I am trying to accomplish. I struggle with feeling useful. I struggle with feeling productive and intelligent. I loved school. I thrived in college. I thrived in the professional world. I love learning and growing. I don’t feel like I am excelling. I long to feel that. Certainly, I imagine I am not the only woman to ever feel this way. By the way, I struggle with this all the time. And yet, I don’t really want to go back to work. I miss it so much. I just cannot imagine going back. This is the hardest part of all. Even if I could afford to send my 4 kids to daycare, I don’t think I could. I want to be there for my kids on a daily basis. I want to be with them, see them grow and learn, watch them pass milestones, experience their daily joys and frustrations. It boils down to this: I cannot imagine letting someone else care for my kids when I am able. I just struggle with being content in this stay-at-home mom position.