“The Mommy War”
Funny thing is, as I’m sitting here typing this, I hear Good Times playing in the background and all of the children on the show are yelling, “Maaaa!” for one reason or another. Florida is doing her best to sew James’s button on while J.J. is yelling about needing a turn in the bathroom. Thelma is crying about Florida not having finished her dress, Michael needs a permission slip written, and then the oatmeal starts burning. James then insists that if Florida had taken her bath the night before she would have been able to get up early enough to sew his button and fix the breakfast with no problems so he could be on time for work.
I like James, but now I’m giving him a strong side eye, and as I do, Florida storms to the front door to leave for work. When James asks her where she’s going she says she has to be on time for work too, so he should sew his own button and fix the kids’ lunches and do the laundry and see how he’d like being “a cook, a seamstress, a diplomat, a referee, and a sparring partner with no pay and no fringe benefits.” I left off a few, but I’m sure we all get the drift.
And that’s what we do, right? Be someone’s something all of the time, give them what they want and hide behind the love of being a mother, the satisfaction that you’ve given and are still giving life… but at what point do we stop simply giving the people what they want and start doing what we want? When do we think about what we need? When do we stop giving life to everyone else and their dreams and begin to breathe some life into our own, into ourselves?
Shonda – yes, I’m calling her Shonda; I’m $30 invested in this journey and she’s hurt my feelings more than once along the way SO FAR, so I’m calling her Shonda – said that being a mother isn’t a job, and it rocked me. It made me angry and emotional. All the hard work that I do in my house, for my family, homeschooling my boys… how dare she say that being a mother isn’t a job??? I mean, I get what she’s saying about being able to quit a job and not being able to quit being a mother. I understand that being a mother is who you are and not necessarily what you do, but it still hurt.
I’m pretty sure that I was hurt because I felt like she was right. Somewhere deep down past my purpose as a mother I know that I have more life and more purpose in me and even though I’ve been slow-walking it to the surface, I’ve been too scared to fully tap into it and hiding behind being a mother.
Don’t get me wrong: I will always feel that being a mother is an important job (no matter what Shonda says), and one of the most important things I will ever do with my life, but I have to start being honest with myself and I’ve known for a while that there’s more to my purpose than being a mother, even a homeschool mother. There’s more to my purpose than being a damn good wife (& yes, I’m pretty freaking awesome!). I just have to admit to myself that seeking something outside of my husband and kids doesn’t make me a bad person and it won’t make me a bad mother either, because let’s be honest: it’s hard enough being a mom and being afraid that you’re getting it wrong EVERYDAY without adding something (or more than one something) to the mix that also requires your passion and focus. While Shonda was talking about the battle between stay at home versus working mothers, homeschool versus public or private school mothers, crafty and homemade versus store bought mothers, my mommy war is with me, inside me, every day.
This goes way beyond self-care (which I’m finally getting better at) and sits us in a realm of “what if I could be more?” What happens when we decided to take time away from home to really focus on self and something else that’s truly fulfilling? Don’t you owe it to yourself to find out? I know I do, and even with my fears of failure and – honestly – fears of success, I’m taking the journey to find out what happens next…