Girls and women are taught that their sacrifice is the ultimate sign of character. Doing for others, anticipating others’ needs, supporting all the parts of all the people…you can never really give too much. Also, part of the love language that many women use is worry.
We fret, therefore, we care.
I lived like that. I didn’t know any better. Having kids was perfect for me, because it asks everything of you. When I had my babies, it was relief from the losses and fertility issues, so all the difficulties of pregnancy, the body aches, were a welcome trade for the heart ache. I didn’t allow myself to feel how unpleasant and scary it was, because WOMEN WOULD KILL TO be in my shoes. Also, it was a relief, because then I had a constant source of need, a constant proof of my value, in my sacrifice and service.
Then I did what came naturally, and what was required. I gave all of me over the past few years….seems like more than a few, let’s see….after 7 years plus 4 years, carry the 9, divide by 12…after 1,000 years of parenting and working and a lifetime of worry and doubt, I am finally putting it down and just living as me. It feels a little counterculture not to follow the script. I’m inching toward that punk rock version of myself day by day.
I’m not fretting, because the world is full of scary shadows and I cannot catch them all.
I’m not trying to control every aspect of my home, my marriage, my kids, my job, this world, because I am but mortal, and I want to sit down and finish my coffee while it’s hot.
I am not falling for the bait, I am not obsessing over my body, I am not trying to look like I have more than I do, or feeling less-than for what I don’t have. I am not apologizing for being me. I am not at the mercy of anyone who needs me. Even my kids are getting that mom’s a real person who gets time and a voice. BOOM.
I am no longer receiving your dependency on me as currency. My broken back and your relief does not feed me.
I’m saying no, and backing away. I get to get some, too.
I’ve learned, since (because of?) having kids and getting a little older, how to be angry and determined and not guilty for either. I am MORE brave, more powerful. It’s not perfect or easy, I’m still succumbing to these sometimes, falling into old patterns, but largely I know that those aren’t the bedfellows I want, thanks. I’m too punk rock for them.
Happy Mother’s Day TO ME, a week plus late because whatever, whatever, I do what I want.