Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Greatest Enigma of them all: Motherhood

It has been said that motherhood is the most rewarding role in which a woman can embark. It is also simultaneously the worst. It is exhilarating and exhausting. It is both seasonal and everlasting.
Motherhood is one of the world's greatest enigmas.Click to tweet!

Here’s a confession; mothers are a great army of pretenders; but it's not an indulgence. Secretly we hate the charade but it’s a hazard of the job as appearing inept either involves social services or worse, risks mutiny from our children. Either way the truth is most of us work very hard to appear suited for the motherhood.
If you overhear a mother talking about her struggles take heed because you are in the company of bravery. Moms who speak of their struggles do so out of desperation and exhaustion. Be kind to them because parenting can be awful. I know because parenting involves potty training. Sadly it is easier to train a puppy to pee on the newspaper than it is to cajole, bribe and trick a two year old to relieve himself while sitting down.

Don’t even get me started on the temper tantrums, food jags, math homework, curfews and driver’s permits.

Sometimes, rarely, we moms accomplish something and it makes us feel triumphant. Which is a rare, good feeling we should hold on to for as long as possible. Certainly once you believe you've arrived at success a new phase hits and you’re mortified to find yourself back at the beginning. Then sometimes, you cry in the shower because you realize really, you’re utterly ill equipped. Or is that just me?

But that’s okay, we 're moms and we’re used to the feeling. There were no instruction manuals presented to us at our child’s birth and we didn't expect any. Instead we roll up our emotional sleeves, put our hands to the task, wipe the sweat from our brow (or crayons from the wall) and raise kids. We knew this was going to be a tough road.

So don’t let the difficulties skew your beliefs. It’s absolutely normal to question your aptitude as a parent. Let me remind you, parenting is definitively the hardest thing we’ve ever done.

And maybe that’s okay. Aren't we all a little happy and a little crazy and a little sad and a little confused? Why do we always think it’s just us who feels that way? Maybe that’s what makes life so hard for women, that instead of thinking that this is the way things are, we think it’s the way we are. Maybe there’s no way around it. Maybe motherhood is meant to be a struggle.

Let’s close the screen on the ‘how to be the perfect parent’ blog and start parenting via your own gut. I know you’ll worry this is a bad idea because after all, if you follow your instincts and fail who can you blame except yourself? It’s okay though. I suspect you’re already dealing with an unhealthy weight responsibility.
If the Frozen sisters, Elsa and Anna, have taught us anything in the 5,243 times we've watched the Disney musical it's this; Let it go!

I’m not suggesting the advice and experience of those mothers who have gone before us is invaluable. Certainly they are! But I’m convinced that another mother’s outcome should not be the measuring stick for my success. My experience is different and separate.

That’s the thing about parenthood; while commonality binds us, each woman’s experience is unique. While most of the time we have no idea what do to next, we all still manage to push on, and while those who have gone before us have carved a path we still must use our own compass to guide us.

Like I said, motherhood is an enigma. What a great mystery that we could love someone so dearly, so devotedly, who, day in and day out reeks utter havoc in our life. How brutal. And beautiful. It is as author Glennon Melton describes, brutifal. Why? Because I’m the mom and I said so! That’s why.

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