I didn’t grow up babysitting. Well, truthfully I did babysit a time or two in between sports practices, games, meets and everything high school and middle school like. And on both occasions or perhaps it was more, I called my mom and in more than one of those phone calls begged her to come help me figure out children.
I didn’t cook much growing up either.
I blame the fact I was allergic to all things dishes related and that entailed standing still.
And still it happened. Later in life my eggs were blessed and two beautiful children were born. Those two now look like this…
Suddenly I was the mother.
Suddenly I had permission to be the mom I wanted to be…. unfortunately no one told me I had permission. And so it took me several years to find my voice as a mother. To find my way….
In the beginning I followed the script I assumed was mine to follow that of a liberated, entrepreneurial mom who invested in family and business. I brought my children to work and worked at home and travelled with them until they were in school. I was overly busy on boards, volunteering, coaching, running two companies and being a mother and of course managing a nanny and house cleaner…
About midway or perhaps a little less into my mothering career my life became a sea of white water and all things stable turned turbulent and then tragic. My marriage ended my business was sold, a financial disaster ensued and a plane fell out of the sky with people I loved in it. My children and I survived the journey but our hearts and souls were traumatized for years…
About then I found a new voice and gave myself permission to be a different type of mom. I no longer believed in hiring someone to do my job as a mother and for many reasons I had no desire to fly around and stay in hotels while someone else raised my children. I was ready to be the next mom I wanted to be and that was the carpool, volunteer single mom who was there. I didn’t really know how to be this mom but I learned.
Somehow we made it on my entrepreneurial efforts and looking back it may have been better had I done things different but I didn’t miss a pickup or a drop off or a game or a fight for that matter over the next ten years. I was in it up to my ears and usually way over my head but mother I did.
And what I learned is that everything valuable entails sacrifice.
I learned to sacrifice to be the mother I wanted to be during the last two thirds of my children’s school stage. And I learned there’s no one mom role or one way to mother or even several ways. There are as many ways to mother as there are mothers. And each mother is called to find her voice and to give herself permission to be the very best mother she can be – given her circumstances, values and vision for her children.
I’m eternally grateful for learning how to show up as a mom.
I’m also eternally grateful I wasn’t arrested for all my motherly mistakes .
I’m sad that I couldn’t have done more and proud that I did what I believed in and did it to the best of my ability even though I cried late into the night on many occasions sure I wasn’t going to be enough or make it.
And still. I found my voice. And we made it. A little tattered and torn but still we got through and today we love each other even though there were many moments we didn’t exactly like each other too much..
You are not meant to be just like the mother to the right or left of you. No, you must give yourself permission to find your unique mothering voice. To be the mother only you can be. And to do it to the very best of your ability…
Not everyone will understand your choices as a mother. So what.
Not everyone will agree that your voice is right. Who cares.
You are the mother – not them.
Someday by the grace of God- our children will grow up into women just like you- who willingly sacrifice for their children and who give themselves permission to find their own voice as a mother…