(Do you have the song in your head about being Rosemarry’s granddaughter… a spitting image of my father…? Me too.)
I’m actually Kathryn’s granddaughter, and I only have my father’s hair… thank heavens. But that’s not what this is about.
Today was a bad morning. The DH and Jeffrey went to church without Eric, Abby and I, and that was most certainly a good thing. The willpower and patience to deal with Beanie in church was something I simply did not possess; staying home, where Abs can nap, and Beanie can help me work on a photo album, was the better road to harmony.
I really blew up at my boys this morning- they were not listening, which is nothing new, but when they got in my china cabinet and knocked over a bunch of our wedding china, (used all of three times) I pretty much lost it. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it was an accident, and I know I really got more angry at myself than I was at them, but like most melt downs, it got all over everyone.
Jeffrey and DH managed to get out the door and off to church, and I sat stewing in the chair, holding Beanie in my lap, and comtemplating the morning. Why was I really so mad? What was really happening, here? And it dawned on, quite suddenly, that I was really angry at myself for not being the perfect mother. How dumb is that? But it’s true. And while I would be the first in line to give my friends pep-talks about how no such woman existed, I wasn’t allowing myself the same mercy.
My kids are tough. They are strong-willed, hard-headed, curious, very busy and often into oodles of mischief. If I turn my back for a minute, things are liable to break, weather that be china or heads. Because of this, I have developed coping mechanisms- I try not to care too much about the little things, I try and give them latitude to explore and make being busy boys an OK thing to be… and intellectually, I believe those are good policies for my family. But sub-consciously and emotionally, I haven’t allowed how I mother to reallybe OK with me. It’s kind of shocking and sad.
This morning, contemplating these things, I realized I really don’t have to live up to anyone else’s model of motherhood. Only mine- but I damn well better be OK with mine, or I’m in trouble. I don’t have to be perfect, and here is the kicker, if I am OK with myself, I won’t feel the need to be defensive about who I am. I only have to be good enough- not perfect, not up to anyone else’s idea of what ’ good mother’ means. I simply have to live up to MY OWN potential, and that will be good enough.
I am a mother. But unlike any idealized model, I’m other things, too, besides “mother”- I’m an artist, with a dire need to create, and sometimes I neglect taking my children to the park, and sometimes I let them watch too many DVD’s because I am busy making stuff. I am a wife, and sometimes their dad has to come first. I am a woman, a good cook, and a slave to whimsy…. and about a million other things.
I am a grapefruit in the fruit-bowl of life, and I will be big, and tart and messy, and some people love me, and others won’t. I’ve got to stop trying to stuff myself in the socially-acceptable ”apple” suit. I’ll never be the “apple”. And hopefully my kids will understand that, and I will be good enough.