Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Redefining Me

Ever have that sinking suspicion that you're turning into the very stereotype that you wanted to avoid? That was me yesterday when I dropped Isaac off at playschool. Without much family nearby to help out, Kent put aside some money to be used for weekly daycare for Isaac. The 4-5 hours once a week allows me to get to my doctor appointments without abnormally high blood pressure. I can also get the numerous blood tests done, get my hair cut, mop the tile floor without fear of a small boy cracking his head open on it, etc. It's been a huge blessing, but not without it's difficulties.

Initially I had a huge amount of 'Mommy guilt' as if being a stay at home mom meant I had signed my existence over and wasn't entitled to time off. Then there was the constant anxiety of scarring my child .. "Mama didn't want me once a week and left me with strangers" ... Not enough material for him to write a future memoir about, but something that might make him insecure. He did cry for the first while every time I left. That plaintive 'Mama' was enough to send mallets of guilt pounding at my head and heart. I'd pound back with, "It's good for him, he needs the socialization, I can't possibly sit around for an hour with him and do a blood glucose test, etc". Slowly over time my head won over. I could see that both of us were better for the small weekly break.

And then the coin flipped. We'd drive to 'big-boy school' and Isaac was excited. He'd get out of the car and want to walk in, dragging his own backpack with him. He'd no long want to hold my hand as we went in and the constant clinging and kissing was replaced with a quick peck as he went for a favorite toy. What happened ... had I suddenly become replaceable?!!!

Yesterday I had to fend off the impulse to grab Isaac and ask him, "Aren't you going to cry because Mama is leaving?" It's kind of sick in a sense, not that I want him to be distressed, but I did want to know that he missed me. Suddenly I was the insecure one.... was I needed, was I loved ...

I had always swore that when I became a mom, I wouldn't be the one who's entire self was defined by her children and how they responded to her. The mother who had to hear from her grown children at least 3 times daily. But I'm beginning to realize that this 'lifetime calling' is more a part of me than I think. It's kinda like your appendix, you're not sure what it does for you, but you sure as heck start to miss it when it's causing you pain and needs to be removed.

I think what it is, is that I'm redefining myself. I am more than Flo, the avid book reader, dancer, art lover, runner etc. I am a Mother ... and not just to Isaac and to the little girl soon to be .... a Nurturer, a Lover (in the deepest and closest way to Godlike Charity), a Friend and a Creator. I suppose this sounds all rather arrogant, but in reality it's humbling because I have yet to realize the impact of what I do and to treasure it for what it is. The power to touch lives holds and ties us down a surely as gravity does.

Speaking of Mothers, we were able to arrange a family celebration for Kent's mom's birthday. I applaud how she has done her best to raise 7 beautiful children (especially my husband) under less than ideal circumstances. Happy Birthday Mom, please know that you are loved.

Isaac was loving the cousin time!


  1. great post, flo! i often think about the question of who i am in relation to motherhood. who would i be without it, etc. i feel that you echoed many of my sentiments. i like to think that i can't really be defined, that who i am is always fluid, but it is constantly being informed and shaped (hopefully in a good way) by mothering. you are doing a great job. your boy is as cute as a button. though you may feel you have nothing to do with his physical appearance over the internet, he does exude a sense of well being. #2 is blessed as well to have you as a mother!

  2. Thanks for your comment Michelle, it's really nice to know that I'm not the only neurotic mother around! ;0) Your boys are darling too!