Just like the sun climbs to its perch
In daily, first-light stretch;
So, my children climb my face
And, morn-breath’d, ask, “When’s breakfast?”
I am the product of many strong, brave women throughout history. Women no one ever knew toiled day in and out at the most mundane of tasks to get their daughters just that much ahead in life, only to have the pattern repeat for a few centuries more.
Women with names we now laud stepped from the shoulders of those mothers to stand for rights, demand votes, insist on admission to colleges and professions, and to study and alter laws once named ‘fair.’
Although ignorant of the nameless women of history, I am not without appreciation for the starting position they gave me. I only ever felt encouraged to do whatever I set my mind to as a child; encouraged to be myself; encouraged to do anything or dress any way or play any games I wanted to.
And, for a while, I could do whatever a boy could do. I wanted to, since I have never been much into dress up or celebrity gossip. I determined to live for myself, alone and independent. I wasn’t afraid of snakes and could open jars; I could do anything.
I thought that teaching girls to have limitless goals was a great idea… until I became a mother.
It’s no secret that I didn’t want to be a mother. If it is, then you’ve missed the name of this blog and a few, key blog posts. To clarify: I’m not mad that I’m a mother. I don’t feel the desire to leave my children in a basket on a porch. Not really. I simply did not ever plan to be just a mother and looked/look down on the profession.
I’ve not quite pinned down the reasons for my dissatisfaction yet; otherwise, I’d probably not keep writing. Recently, however, I have resonated with the idea that motherhood disappointed me because of that ‘girl power’ upbringing.
-I was told I could be a doctor and had the intellect for it.
-When I said I wanted to be President of the United States of America, teachers and school counselors cheered.
-At college meetings, no one batted an eye when I registered for engineering and science programs.
-I remember conversations with professors, guidance counselors, neighbors, friends, and family where, when asked about my future, they never mentioned motherhood.
HOWEVER, life changed. All my goals and plans went out the window. The determined spinster that was me fell in love in high school, married after a semester at college, and started producing babies within a few years after that. No matter, right?
-With what was left of my brain, I told myself I could still do medical school.
-I didn’t actually want to be POTUS; politics were more complicated than people told children.
-I could take a break from engineering courses and finish them up after the kids grew a little.
-Motherhood wasn’t that bad. (Female) people did it all the time.
Suffice to say, I was a teensy bit unprepared for the emotional and mental car crash of stay-at-home motherhood after a young marriage and fairly young pregnancy. I was unprepared for a fairly young servitude of diapers, schedules, and (above all) the whims of my offspring.
I think I’d set aside motherhood as a contingency plan, or maybe as an idea that it would “probably happen.” I had not realized how much of a lifetime commitment the profession was, particularly if one has difficult children. Maybe, like my ultimate life goal of never doing chores, I was simply ignorant.
Or, maybe, we’ve shifted too far away from encouraging what every woman used to aspire to.
I know the future is brighter for females. I am so happy that we can gain entry and employment to nearly everywhere. I definitely appreciate not being talked down to when I converse with a doctor or a mechanic. As I said earlier, I loved feeling free to do anything.
But I’m afraid that we’ve killed motherhood.
I don’t think I would have minded more sewing lessons in school. What about cooking and cleaning courses? Scheduling? Budgeting? Basic interpersonal marriage counseling? -All good. Overall, though, what we’re really missing is the expectation of families and the support needed to make them work.
Where once there were mother’s coffee groups and communal play areas of apartments, there is social media and day care. Church classes and community events have been replaced with atheism, apathy, and selfishness. People lock their doors, install security systems, and watch any visitors -even their own next-door neighbors- through door cameras.
When I ask my neighbors with daughters about their children’s futures, they do not list family production. It is always college, discovering themselves, and changing the world. Talking to the girls themselves produces a similar answer.
Can’t we have strong females and good mothers? Well-adjusted parents who feel they have societal support? Good children who are raised by responsible and loving parents? Mom groups? Community events that want children around?
Being a mom sucks. I know. But, the only way to change the world is the same way our female progenitors did: raising children for the future.
Sunday, April 14: “Religion in the Home,” a post about religion in the home.
Monday, April 15: Really proud of my poem, “A House(work) at War.”
Tuesday, April 16: Shared a quote by Ray Romano.
Wednesday, April 17: Offered a Food Tip.
Thursday, April 18: “Reasoning with a Toddler,” a quick thought about unreasonable toddlers.
Friday, April 19: Felt inspired to share some vacation tips with “10 Tips for When You’re Crazy Enough to Vacation with Kids.”
Sunday, April 21: Happy Easter!
If you’re planning on a vacation with kids, don’t.
If you’re still reading this, it may be too late. You may have already scheduled the thing, or are driving or flying to your destination and are reading this to block out the nearby shouting.
I’m sorry. I feel for you.
Fortunately for you (and me), we live in the age of technology. Plugging a child into a device like a robot buys you hours of uninterrupted time, time they would have spent poking each other and using their imaginations and such.
Yeah; I’m not in favor of devices for each kid. I’ll go into that more later.
For now, I wanted to recommend some tips once you all arrive at the family vacation spot.
- Have a plan. Winging it is a terrible idea, unless your children are adults. Even then, there’s going to be a lot of, “I dunno; what do you wanna do?” questions, while you fume at them for doing what they could have done at home.
- If you’re brave, have the kids be part of the planning process. Always give them a monetary limit, but freedom of choice will make them feel more involved and guilt them into trying to enjoy what they chose.
- Get outside and do something you couldn’t at home. I mean, why did you even leave your house and its area?
- Get outside and do something you could do at home, like going to a movie or a restaurant. You’re on vacation, so label it as a ‘special activity.’
- Eat out a few times but don’t go crazy. Costs add up quickly with children, especially considering how often they don’t eat their $10 kids meals.
- Go to lots of free places; like parks, hikes, exhibits, tours, and drives.
- Ask other people who have been to that vacation spot what was fun, and what was not.
- Try to pack what you need. If you didn’t, most places have a Wal-Mart.
- Make watching hours of TV or tablet time part of your schedule, then you won’t resent their doing it so much.
- Consider babysitter services where you’re going so at least some of the time counts as a vacation for parents, too.
Trying to reason with a nap-deprived toddler is like
Trying to reason with a sleep-depri -okay, it’s also like trying to convince a toddler to do anything.
I tried, but there isn’t a better comparison. …Stubborn toddlers.