what kind of mother? part 3

I know what kind of mother I would like to be; but can I handle it?

As evidenced from my current emotional state, I am not very strong.  That’s putting it mildly:  I’m a hot mess.

I look at my messy apartment and think about the parents I know whose children don’t know what dirt looks like.  Will I poison my kids if I keep cleaning with vinegar instead of the latest antibacterial whatsit?  Does being a parent mean I will have to dust the baseboards more often?  Am I failing them if I don’t really give a shit about where they leave their shoes?

I look at my finances and think about the families I know who own houses, who can afford piano lessons (ha!) and new clothes and trips to Disney World.  I read articles about people who “have kids they can’t afford.”  Will I deprive my kids if their clothes come from the thrift store and their vacations are to Grandma’s house?

I look at my history with depression and terrible self-image and I hope to whatever higher power might be out there that I don’t pass it on.  If I can’t hold it together all the time, am I dooming my kids to the same problems?

I think I can be a good mother.  I know for sure that I won’t make exactly the same mistakes my parents made, but I also know for sure that I will make different ones.  There is a deep, illogical place inside of me, though, that is sure beyond a doubt that I can do this.

If only I can have the chance.


10 responses to “what kind of mother? part 3

  1. No one, let me repeat that, NO one is perfect. I do not subscribe to the notion that you need loads of money for trips to Disney (ugh) or piano lessons & lots of crap. I know plenty of people who have raised happy, well adjusted children without deep pockets, there is so much more to life than money. And, i don’t want to get started on how kids have way too much stuff these days.
    You kids will love you even more because you don’t make them pick up their shoes:) The baseboards? Dusting, really? Shit, I am childless and I don’t do that.
    You will be a good mother, having the luxury to contemplate these issues will help you to be more adept when it happens.
    Hang in there G & L, things will get brighter.

  2. This was a great series of posts, and as usual, gave me a lot to think about. I was just talking to my friend who has an 8 month old, and she said (very matter of factly), “…becuase, you know, you’re ALWAYS worried that you’re being a bad mother.” That really struck me, too. I hope I don’t get so preoccupied with and insecure about my mothering skills! But I’ve been thinking about this issue (that you raise) a lot lately. One thing I decided as a rule for myslef is to try to never get mad at my kids about things that aren’t rule-breaking. I may need to write that down, but if my kid is doing something that pisses me off, but I’ve never TOLD him/her not to do it, that is just plain unfair. I got a lot of anger-out-of-the-blue when I was a kid, and it was very confusing and traumatic. Even though my parents were excellent (and never were TOO angry or violent or anything), it is hard to know how to avoid doing something annoying or insensitive when you’re just a kid– so I’m going to TRY to cut my kids some slack there.

    As for your future mothering skills, I think the fact that you are thinking about these things now means that you will be wonderful. My mom has had fits of depression, and yeah, that IS a bit difficult for a kid to deal with– but as long as they are getting love, it is not too bad. That said, I am not convinced that your depression isn’t due to infertility in large part. I was super depressed until I got pregnant, and now I am happy again (still worried, but certainly not depressed). I think that when you get pregnant, you will be very happy too. So no need to worry. As for dirt, grime and germs, it’s actually better for their immune systems to be exposed to them. 🙂

  3. I usually just lurk your posts because I enjoy your thoughtful and insightful perspective and wish you well, but I can’t not say something. You will be a great mother, precisely because you are asking yourself these questions and worrying about children yet to come. Please, please, please don’t be so hard on yourself! You are recovering from major surgery under less than optimal conditions (having to go back to work early at a hostile workplace). The physical stress and the emotional stress- only a robot wouldn’t feel blue and vulnerable! But you will get through this, the physical recovery, the fertility trials and I am sure you will mother in one fashion or another. Sorry for this long post but I really do wish you well and I am sending you a virtual hug!!

  4. Thank you for coming over to my house to check on me. There is nothing like someone coming to poke you and make sure you are ok, is there? I adore it. Thanks Ginger.

    I love these posts. You are a wonderful mother. I dont think you have to have one with you full time to make you one. It is a mind set, an outlook and a level of commitment.

  5. LOVELY series.
    On part one, I feel like modern parents are CRAZEEE! I guess these parents existed when I was a kid, but because we were dirt poor, we didn’t really interact with them. My parents were in the let the kids take care of themselves because we’re clinging to existence camp. Which comes with certain issues, too, but UGH.
    On the other parts, I gotta say, I think you’re really strong. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Maybe you’re not the vision of strength and tidiness you’d like to be , but that doesn’t make you weak. And I think your approach to parenting sounds perfect. I hear tell all kids need is love and stability (which doesn’t have to mean money!). I hope they come SOON.

  6. What a nice set of posts. I think the fact that you’ve been able to write all this is a testament to what a good parent you will be. Those parents you described in post #1 are oblivious to anything but their own agenda.
    I’ve said it before, but you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. It’s hard to judge when you feel weighed down by life but when you’re time comes you will shine in your own way. And it will be sublime.

  7. People who take their kids to fancy places are not necessarily awesome parents.

    You know that you would never deliberately deprive my child. Whatever you do, would be in the best interest of the kid and what you can afford at the time.

    If anything, teach your kid to discriminate and not be a materialistic leech. An acquaintance’s 9 year old refused to smile and say Goodbye to her mother (the lady was leaving for a month and going away to a different country) because the mother could not fulfill her daughter’s last minute request for chocolates and some x-y-z. This is horrible.

    I will tell you something. By the virtue of the fact that we are starved of and hence get to ruminate more on ‘to be or not to be parents’, we are slightly better off. We choose to want kids. But the flip side, we doubt ourselves more.

  8. OOOPS….You know that you would never deliberately deprive ‘your’ child.

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