Motherhood and the Quest for Peace
In some parts of the world, including the part of the world where my own mother lives, March 21st is Mother’s Day. On the eve of this celebration of mothers and all they impart upon this world – we would be nowhere without them – I sit awake, restless, desperately attempting to find peace in my heart with the mother I am today.
My own mother gave herself, fully and completely, to us. To her family, her children, to being our rock and the one constant in the constantly changing backdrop of our lives. I lived in more apartments and houses than I care to count, went to 11 schools (all before college), and can’t remember most of the people I was friends with for mere months at a time. But mama was always there, with a hot, home-cooked meal ready for me when I came home from school. She was always there, cloaking me with the invisible security blanket of knowing I never had to wonder where she was or what she was doing. She was there, she was mine, and nothing else in her life was more important or of higher priority.
I, on the other hand, leave my son and his father sleeping in their beds on 5 mornings a week, as I head out to spend the next 11 or so hours of my (and their) day enclosed in an office, unavailable, distant, away. They rise and spend the next hour and a half together before my husband drops off my beautiful boy at school. The hour and a half that used to be mine, that used to carry some of our best, sleepy-eyed, uninhibited memories together.
How can I be a good mother if I’m only there for 3 of his waking hours? How can he learn to trust that I will always be there, if, for the most part, I’m not?
And now look what I’ve done.
I’ve gone and made another one.
In a matter of months, another boy will be born to this family, and I will spend however many weeks of maternity leave I get agonizing over the day when I will have to leave yet another infant in the care of someone who, no matter how amazing she is, is not me.
What have I done?
Some days are positive, upbeat, fulfilling on all fronts, professional and personal.
Other days make me feel handcuffed, trapped, yet insufficient in any of the roles I have taken upon myself.
My need to prove that I can do anything any other woman can do – be an intelligent and high-achieving professional, be a nurturing and selfless mother, be an accomplished recreational athlete – leaves me pursuing everything all at once, yet mastering none of it.