Saturday, May 7, 2011

My misconceptions about being a MOM

You know how people say “it’s the small things in life”? I agree, though I also realize that it would be a full time job to wake up in the morning,
marvel at the raising sun,
be amazed at the fact that Geoffrey put his socks in the laundry basket the night before,
be grateful (as I am every single day) that I am healthy,
enjoy the tantalizing aroma of the morning coffee,
compliment a strangers outfit on a subway (I often do),
stop and smell the flowers of the blooming cherry tree on Park Avenue,
be grateful that I have a job that pays the bills (well sort of) and
remain being content recognizing the privilege of the life I live.
I do.

I do, but in a way I also take it for natural and well-deserved, as I believe life should be this way for us all. (I know it’s not)
It’s the same exact way I used to think about my mom and being a mom. It was one of those “natural” things.  A woman got married, had children, and raised them; that’s just the way the world worked. It was only expected that breakfast was ready at 7am – warm cocoa and bread with butter and jelly on the table; that my snacks were neatly packed for school; that my clothes were washed, ironed, smelling of lavender; that I got birthday gifts and a cake with candles; that mom was next to my bed every night reading a story till my eyes closed from exhaustion and that she was unconditionally “there”. Moms weren’t supposed to go out unless it was work related and were to take “us” children on all their trips. I earned my new clothes and toys, I loved so much by being a good girl and getting good grades.
My mom’s job was to make money and raise me, at least that’s how I interpreted her devotion. This was also what our culture dictated. I was lucky to know only children with moms as dedicated as mine.  (Dads came in all shapes, sizes, personalities and levels of dedication. Mine went “missing” from my life from the age of 6). Moms worked for us, children without much of acknowledgement, without complaints. From time to time, I overheard adults talking about some mom “If she can’t take care of them, she shouldn’t have had them!” but it was very rare and I never knew who they were referring to.
            As I grew older, my appreciation for my mom also grew. I now recognized much of her sacrifices, though still retained the naturalness of it all. Traveling through South and Central America I admired women sitting on a square selling their handmade goods while a content baby was latching onto their breast and another two siblings were running around. This is the way I imagined my motherhood, although in a New York City version.

As I flipped through the pages of “People” magazine resting on my big belly with twins kicking inside, I couldn’t help not noticing celebrity moms and their brood. They all looked happy and content. Angelina Jolie walking the streets of NYC with her six children, Tori Spelling eating ice cream in Beverly Hills with her two kids and Kate playing in a park with her sixtuplets. None of them looked tired, unhappy or miserable. By the look of it, their life hadn’t changed a bit since having kids, at least that is what the photos portrayed. From time to time I’d watch interviews with women on TV and roll my eyes when many claimed that their biggest achievement in life was being a “mom” and that they raised their children “right” … “Surely there are other things in life to be proud of ”  … I thought …    
Two years ago in May I became a mom. Disregarding all warnings from experienced moms, who cautioned that doom was approaching and told us “your life will change so much.” I felt prepared for the change and consoled my fears by recognizing that even those whom nobody could ever picture in this role did rather well as “mom”. I always wanted to have children and thought I would make a great mom, even if I found it hard to imagine that my wake up time over the weekends would be pushed up to 7 am rather than the usual 10 am. Gushing from happiness I took on the role and worked as hard as I ever have in life. As in my jobs before, I expected a pat on a shoulder, a praise, a raise … There was none … Everyone during those hardest first three months worked to their fullest capacity including grandma 1 and 2, grandpa and dad. We rotated nap time, which was now worth gold that could have been traded on Wall Street, as far as we were concerned. When my mom left after two months living in tight quarters with us, I cried at the airport for the first time in a long time. “Mom, you did all this for me???” I now truly recognized that being a mom while natural is also a huge sacrifice.

On my first night out with friends I wore high heels and a pretty dress; I felt promoted. I stood in a circle of girls clutching martinis, most of whom I knew and some of them I just met.
“What do you do?”
“I am a stay-at-home mom,” I said shyly, almost ashamed of my non-money making social status with hugs and kisses as benefits. There were no follow up questions …

Two years later, I feel that the job of a mom is more resume-worthy than anything I have on that one page of life achievements. I no longer roll my eyes at moms, whose greatest accomplishment IS being a good mom. I am one of them …
I bet you're a wonderful mom :) Line

It's so amazing how we all believe that 'we can handle it' when it comes to motherhood. No amount of preparation, advice, books, gadgets, etc., can prepare us motherhood. Motherhood is earned by love, sacrifice, dedication, honor, caring, respect and desire for our children. This is not something that can be purchased or found. It is a miraculous occurrence that cannot be explained or dissected. When that tiny little wonder of awe is placed in your arms.....then and only then.....can the real magic of motherhood begin. It's inexplicable, you can't explain it to someone who has not experienced it. It just is...... it is the most awe consuming, magical, heart felt moment of your life that overtakes you in such a way that it changes your life, heart and soul forever. Cheers to all the Mothers out there....we are all truly wonders of the universe!!!! Amazing article Elvi, Truly Amazing!

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