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The Mother I am Right Now


I have been wondering where I fit in to this Mothering.com bloggesphere. I had been invited based on previously written pieces of work and now here I sit on the precipice of unknowns pondering what part of myself to share. I am sure of myself as a writer but have found myself paying much closer attention to the other posts here and to blogs in general. 

What is ‘My Voice’, I wonder? What ‘me’ do I want to share? I am a mother but do I qualify as enough (of an attachment – vegan – baby-wearing – earth-mother) to be here? No. No, you don’t my little voice says. Except for the baby-wearing part. I’d still sling my 6 and 8 year old if I could. I have always been secretly, deep-down inside struggling with the perfect mom complex.  Actually, I thought I had worked that out in therapy, and I am supposed to be okay with being a ‘good enough’ mother. I am self-realized and aware enough to understand that it’s just my insecurities scratching at the door and that we (us mothers of all sorts) have a place here at the virtual table.  But here it is trying to rear its ugly little head.


 


I often joke about being a slacker-mom and/or a proponent of  ”free-range parenting”, why is it that I would care what others think of me? Well, because I am writing for Mothering (Magazine – I still say in my head)! It’s been my parenting idol. My Mecca of Motherhood. But when I think about it, most of the Mothering articles, including blogs, over the years that have the most meaning to me were the ones that dealt with an “issue” (read struggle) I had dealt with. Those other mothers words resonated because it made me feel I wasn’t alone. Yes, parenting is this hard and I am not the only person who thinks so. 

When I ponder at my next post, I really want to gush about my friends that keep me going. I could not do this alone, and nor should we have to. I need the outlet, the shoulders to cry on, the escape of adult talk and love that says I’m okay, you’re okay.  So is it wrong that I would rather focus my musings on the wonderful weekend get-away that I just had with my girlfriends rather than the nights I spend pleading with my kids to get ready for bed?  I think not. Its escapism. DO I really hate my kids as much as it sounds like I do? No I just like to get away from them, often.


Okay, can you tell I am not working towards the motherhood of the year award?  I never knew that having kids was so much damn work! Babies are so freaking cute that it tricks us into propagating the human race. Really what you are getting into is a gremlin situation (the don’t-feed-them-after-midnight type)… Sure they are cute but watch out, they can turn on you. Sometimes I think, I wish I had known that I don’t really like kids before I had them.


The sad part is I think I am at an easy stage, age-wise. They don’t need constant supervision, they have figured out how to eat and go to the bathroom on their own, for the most part. They even surprise me sometimes by being civil and even loving from time to time. By that I mean I have two boys who are at each others’ throats 70% of the time.


They are good kids but often they reflect back at me the impatient, loud, angry person that I must be like a lot of the time. We are pretty good at working up a vicious cycle where they don’t listen, I get frustrated and start yelling, and someone ends up crying. (It could be me).


So do I feel like a failure as a mom? Sometimes. Not usually. Sure, there are things that I wished I did better and I am working on becoming a more patient parent (“We’re not doing that now” spoken in a sing-song voice is sort of a joke between me and my sister, who’s son was in Waldorf preschool. A joke because I wish I could be as patient as a Waldorf teacher and that my kids would listen the first time to such a quiet simple instruction). Someday I’ll figure it out. Probably not in this lifetime.


I am growing in leaps and bounds along with these two boys of mine.  I find inspiration where I can. Try to remember that I am doing the best I can with what I’ve got.  I keep a reminder of the important stuff taped to the inside of my pantry door.




I made this sign as a reminder to myself.


My son made this reminder for me.

 


 



About Wenonah Michallet

Married for 15 years and mother of two boys, age 8 and (almost) 7. Work my day job being "the Glue" at a freestanding birth center. "I support midwives" should be tattooed on my forehead.



Comments (25)

Oh, your son's sign made me cry! great post!
THANK YOU!!! I have been really struggling with this over the last couple of months. My marriage is in a bind, and figuring out how to make it work consumes me. My kids get my leftovers. I feel horrible, but I keep trying to remind myself that my leftovers aren't really all that bad. I love my kids, and they know it even if I'm not as involved as I was a few months ago. So thank you for this post. It's really encouraging!
I never realized how little patience I had until I became a mom. I know that women have come a long way, but so many of us still struggle with the pressure to be perfect. We are supposed to have a compelling and successful career (isn't that what feminists fought for?), a home clean enough to entertain in, healthy and delicious meals on the table, endless nurturing and patience for our little ones, all while looking young and sexy. Oh yeah, and keeping our husbands happy ans satisfied. And maybe going to school. And we really SHOULD volunteer... ARGH. I love my little girl more than anything, and I make her my top priority 90% of the time, but sometimes I just have to turn on the TV so I can make dinner, you know?
Great post, we feel the same! exactly the same!
Thanks for this post. It's always nice to hear from another mom who questions herself but keeps trying to get it "right" :)
Well, we all know we aren't alone, but there are times when you ask, 'I'm smart, right? Then why did I have more?' I have 4. They are great, wonderful and the most demanding bosses, I have ever had. I like the reminder to breathe and smile. I think my pantry door needs a reminder or two.
I cannot thank you enough for this. I am rocking my 1 1/2 year old (who won't sleep for longer than 30 minutes by herself at nap time) trying not to completely sob so she doesn't wake up. This is what I'm doing right right now.
Awesome. And so right about the babies being cute. Some days it feels like it was such a trick as I get sassed by my 9 year old or watch the tantrum of my five year old and long for the baby cuddling sleepless nights.
Thank you. This is exactly what I needed to see today. I need to make my own version of your sign to hang in the kitchen. Motherhood can be such a struggle and I often feel guilty for taking much needed breaks. Thanks for the reminder that other moms struggle too.
My sons are 18 and 21, and I sometimes still have the same thoughts. But I'm learning to live in the now not the past or the future. Could it really be that simple? Thanks for writing this piece.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this blog. It was exactly what I needed to read today. I am a single mother to a very challenging 5 year old daughter. I have raised her by myself since the day she was born. And I could totally relate to what one other mom posted about not knowing she was an impatient person until she became a mother. So true! I am going to be acting in a show with a friend of mine called the "Maternal Instincts Project" and I would love to use excerpts from your blog to write a piece to perform. Would you be willing to allow that? If so, would I need to get your signed permission or something from Mothering? I would love to share your story with other moms!
Oh, wow! A mother who admits that she doesn't really like kids. I love you!
Nonah, Amazing blog. So honest. It is so hard to admit all of this. No one told me that I would have to wrestle my 3 year old to get her to take a nap. No one said I would say things like "I'm going to break you into 7 pieces if you don't go to bed!" - with gritted teeth and spit spraying out of my mouth. I screamed so loudly the other day I was sure child protective services was going to come to my house. Who screams like that? I'm supposed to be the love goddess!!! I've learned that like ALL relationships the relationship you have with your kids ebbs and flows. It's great and then you'll have a wave of ugly and this can happen minute to minute in one afternoon. This is especially true if you are an attentive, attached, concerned and organic mom like yourself. I would not trade any of our frustration for a detached, non-social, non-empathic, tuned out child. The bad news is it's not over. You have to do it again and again and again. The good news is it's not over and you still have yet to see all those amazing seeds you planted. Keep going sexy amazing mom that you are. You are perfect in every way - I MEAN that!!!!
Oh my goodness! Thank you all for your comments! I am tearing up right now, feeling vindicated that I had the strength to tell it like it is. And to hear that so many of you sometimes feel the same. It is becoming more and more clear to me the importance of connecting with others we can support and find strength in. Also, that what we put out there comes back to us ten fold. I am so thankful for the community that I am finding here.
Yes, totally! I don't think that you need any formal signed permission just give "credit where credit is due". I think it's great to find inspiration from others' ideas or thoughts. Your project sounds interesting. Contact me via Facebook @Wenonah Michallet.
There is so much I want to say in response to this post, but just, THANK YOU!! I'm in tears because I aspire to be so much better, patient, attached, organic, in-touch, etc. mother and yet there are days when I let my daughter watch multiple hours of TV so I can get anything done or am screaming because I just want to go the bathroom ALONE. I'll even admit, we travel A LOT and sometimes no matter how many organic, fair-trade, healthy snacks I pack, it's easier to let her eat McD's than try to find child-friendly, dairy-and-banana-allergy safe restaurants in foreign countries. Your post helps me feel less guilty about my "bad mom moments (days/weeks)" and reminds me to keep focusing on the good stuff...I'm off to write my own list for our kitchen cabinet...Thank you for the courage to share and thank you to Mothering for letting us know we not failing if we can't be all AP, EC, etc. all the time! : )
I am a Waldorf Teacher in training. I do all that sing-along soft voice with all children and it works except for my elder daughter, who is now 6 1/2 (who also spent 4 yrs in a Waldorf kindergarten!!) It even works for my younger daughter!! I'm patient with every child except with this 6 1/2 !! I had to take deep breaths when she pleading/whining/begging for things. I had to put my hand to "pause" her so I can run into my room & tell myself "I am an oak tree" and gather myself before I can deal with her again. Sometimes, I think bringing up children also mixes chemistry with different people. We all do our best & we all make mistakes. I remember my homeopath told me (she is a mom herself) - "good enough" is good enough, it doesn't have to be perfect when she prescribed "Sepia" for me (Sepia is a homeopathic remedy for "overloaded mom who doesn't want to ask for help & who tries to do it all) =)
Wenonah, you've obviously hit a nerve with this post. I can't imagine there is a mom in the world who has not had the exact same thoughts, been through it all. My motto always was, Just let me make it through all this with our relationship intact because ultimately, it is the relationship with my grown children that will matter. We think when they are small that we can mold them as we like and that is the source of so much maternal pain. But having raised three, I can say that in the end, doing the best we can has to be enough. When they grow up and have kids of their own, they realize that's what we did and is IS good enough. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.
Thanks for letting me know even Waldorf teachers aren't perfect all the time. I really agree about the chemistry idea. There are some people we connect with on another level that includes those we are related to. Also such a good strategy to give yourself a time out and regroup. I am an Oak Tree.
Thanks for admitting that you yell at your kids. I think the way we do child-rearing in the US (nuclear families, very intensive and high-intensity parenting) is incredibly stressful and leads to frequent outbursts because it's too much. We should be rearing children in large groups of women, kids, and adolescent girls - babies with moms and grandmas, toddlers looked after by 6-12 year old girls, teen girls working with the women, who get things done because all the kids are occupied, and they don't freak out from pressure to do it all. I find that I have nearly constant role conflict that is crazy-making. How can I make dinner in less than two hours, supervise the older one who wants to help and has no concept of time, and make sure the toddler is entertained and isn't surreptitiously pulling the cleaver out of the knife block? How can I work full-time so we have a roof over our heads AND keep the house clean, orderly, and decluttered when a two-man wrecking crew, 1000 crayons and magic markers, scrap paper galore, scissors, blocks, jigsaw puzzles, and a Noah's Ark of plastic animals also dwell there? I know parenting is incremental shaping over the course of 18+ years, done for the long-term goal of making your child responsible, respectful, and able to fend for himself as an adult, but criminy, the day-to-day struggle for order, discipline, and respect for self, home and other can be overwhelming (for all of us). My husband sometimes gives up and lets the inmates run the asylum. I still don't know how to navigate that internal struggle between loving them so much exactly the way they are and sometimes wishing kids came with an 'off' switch or would just go to bed without stories and nursing and getting up to potty. I try to remind myself that these years of laying in bed singing, patting a diapered butt, and giving backrubs will be far shorter than the years when they aren't interested in mom for anything except a ride to their friends' houses, and much shorter than the years they will be adults who may move across the country.
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