Saturday, January 25, 2014

Follow-up

I've loved all of the sweet and thoughtful comments that people have written here, on Facebook and in person. It's so good to feel loved and understood. The previous post had been a long time in coming. I really needed to write it the first year of motherhood when I was miserably depressed and confused. I felt very alone and wondered constantly what was wrong with me and why I couldn't be blissfully happy like those other mothers I read on blogs, saw on Facebook or met at church functions. I'm obviously still confused and I'm still trying to figure out how we can live our lives so that everyone can be happy and fulfilled, but I'm at peace with myself. I'm at peace knowing that I don't like being a homemaker, nor am I very good at it. And while there are those out there who are both happy and good at that role, it's OK that I'm neither. Maybe that's why my thoughts finally got published. 

I've also come to realize that what people put on Facebook, blogs and say in public are only the best 5% of what actually goes on in their day to day lives. The other 95% is full of messes, chaos, boredom, mistakes and TV watching. I think it's good we focus on all the good, beautiful moments, because we need those bright, happy moments to lift us up. It's where most of our thoughts should go. But then it can also create this very bad space where perceived reality, is very far from reality and comparing our worst to someone's best can hurt deeply.

A little clarification on some of what I wrote. I think it is unfair the lot that women are drawn in a typical traditional family. There is nothing wrong with being a homemaker. On the contrary, it is an extremely difficult, necessary and noble job, but when it is always expected and no alternatives are given, I find that a huge problem. I have felt very trapped. Part of that is my own doing. I should have taken the initiative to consider all of my options and consider that I might not want to be a stay at home mother. I should have kept going on with my education instead of following a rote path. Some of it is upbringing. There should be more talk of possibilities, praying and following what the spirit tells you. It's not fair that men must be the provider. What if they want to stay home? That's an even a harder sell than a woman in our church working outside the home. I'm sure that choice garners a lot of eyebrow lifting, pity or grown-up teasing. And it absolutely should not! Because they have chosen to do the hardest and most selfless job on the planet. I think that often is said in a patronizing way, but nothing could be further from the reality.

When I talked of not all men being required to do a certain job, because they were male. I meant to emphasize that it a great fallacy and injustice to expect all women to love and want to be a homemaker because they are a woman. Just like a man is able to both be a father and a teacher, so too can a mother be a mother AND something else if that is right for her and her family. The hardest thing about becoming a mother, was feeling like the old me had died and in her place was someone who had no other identity other than mother.  

I'm very, very lucky because I have a fantastic husband who has done way more laundry in our eleven years in marriage than me. We work together when he gets home from work. He understands that we've both had a busy, hard day and that we both have to keep working to keep our home going when his "work day" ends. He gets up with the kids, he helps me put them to bed. He helps do the dishes, cooks, cleans, watches the kids and whatever else needs to be done. I'm spoiled and I'm lucky. Oh how I wish we had made millions and we could do this homemaking thing together twenty-four seven. That would be perfect. I would have fantastic company and a huge support day in and day out. But that's not ever going to happen for anyone. So what I wish for, is more of an open mind. An environment where each person male or female can do what suits themselves and their families best. And that roles are not dictated solely upon gender. That we all become more selfless and seek to put the needs of our spouse and our children above our own.




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