I was drawn into a discussion/debate on an online infertility support forum I frequent on a very interesting article that had been published – All Joy And No Fun, Why Parents Hate Parenting. I loved this article and I really enjoyed the debate because the article really hit a few home truths for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past 7 months.
I learned that I don’t fit into the mould of a SAHM, wrapped in an apron, baking cookies in a large, clean, homely kitchen, with a large table in the center of it, my children scattered around the table, being supervised by me, as they each work on various arts and craft projects. That was my ideal, it sounds so romantic and so wonderful, but I’ve learned it’s not for me.
Then I read the Reluctant Mom’s blog yesterday and the About Celeste section really struck a chord with me. Celeste is a mom after my own heart. I feel very much the same was as she does. I love Ava with every fiber of my being, it’s a love that no words can ever fully express but there are aspects of parenting which I hate. And the All Joy and No Fun article summed it up perfectly when it said: “Loving one’s children and loving the act of parenting is not the same thing”.
The blog and the article really provided an aha moment for me. And it also gave me permission to let go of some of the guilt I’ve kept hidden deep inside my soul over the past few months. Guilt that I don’t want to spend every waking moment of every day with my daughter. Guilt that I look forward to dressing up, putting on my make up and heading off to work. Guilt that I like spending a Saturday mornings getting my hair highlighted and my nails done. A large portion of this guilt is as a result of not feeling like I was a good mother, or like I measured up to other mothers, this is partly because of the mother I have. My mom stopped working when she was half way through her pregnancy with me, she hasn’t worked outside the home since then, more than 38 years, she’s the type of mom that was always wrapped in an apron, the smell of baking hovering around her as she made home-made cookies and biscuits while my brother and I played at the kitchen table. The truly selfless type of mother. But I am not that kind of mother, I never will be and to try to force myself to be would be both detrimental to me and to Ava. I know that now, and its articles like these and blogs like the Reluctant Mom who give women like me permission to let go of that guilt and to recognize that we’re better mothers because of the choices we’ve made.
A case in point, one of those scenario’s that fits perfectly into the realizing that “loving one’s child and loving the act of parenting is not the same thing” is Ava’s weaning process. I’m HATING it! Hate it! Hate it! Hate it! This weekend she learned how to spit! Now all she wants to do is spit! Not just the new foods but everything in between and the things she loves, she just spits it and it lands up in my face, on my glasses, on the floor. It takes every ounce of my energy to try to keep calm and not lose it completely. To sit there with speckles of food on my glasses and patiently and calmly attempt to shovel another spoonful of food into her mouth even though I know that’s probably also going to get spat at me. It takes every ounce of control and energy I can muster to not scream the F word or throw something in the process. And then Walter wonders why, when he gets home from work, I’m so frazzled I can barely hold a conversation. I wish I could go back to just bottle feeding, it was so much easier!
At least now I can remind myself that I’m not alone in feeling this way. That there are loads of other mom’s out there who love their child/ren but don’t necessarily love the act of parenting!