Motherhood. There are so many things to say about it. And what hasn’t already been said by someone, somewhere? What can I add that's of any value? I suppose I'll just write what I need to write for my own understanding, whether it adds value to anyone's life or not.
I came across a friend’s Instagram post in which she mentioned that her friend hadn’t been to the movies in several years. She then praised her, describing her as a dedicated mom.
Some of you may know my very serious anxiety about being a mother. This is a very real challenge for me mentally and emotionally—a hurdle I need to overcome. It’s incredibly complex, and certainly can’t be described in one blog post or in one conversation. It’s an emotionally charged subject for me and a lot of other people. So I’ll just limit myself to this one topic on this occasion.
One of my countless reasons for being so anxious and stressed about motherhood is the kind of situation described on my friend’s Instagram--not getting to do things I love. Is not going to the movies for four years the mark of a dedicated mother? If someone has gone to the movies once a week or a couple of times a month, does that mean she is not a dedicated mother?
Please don’t mistake my sentiments. I am not criticizing her for not going to the movies. I have no say in what kind of mother she is as I don’t even know the woman; I'm sure she's great. I simply see it as something I’m not sure I’d be able to do. And I would like to think that just because I’d do things differently, it wouldn’t make me any less dedicated as a mother.
I’d like to think that she doesn’t begrudge the fact that she hasn’t been to the movies in so long. Surely she enjoys taking care of her little ones at home. I am probably safe to assume that it adds value and meaning to her life beyond description.
And while I imagine that I’d probably feel the same way about having children—the joy beyond measure, the satisfaction, the intense love—I feel like if I didn’t get regular breaks to do things I love, to take care of me, so I could be a happy mom for my kids, I would probably go crazy.
My logical mind tells me there are lots of different ways to do things, and lots of different ways to parent. There are lots of good moms in the world, and surely they didn’t and don’t do things exactly the same way.
My reason also tells me that I’ll be able to gauge the things I need for my happiness and fulfillment once I am already in the position—once I become a mother. Maybe I won’t feel the need to do so many things to make myself happy because my babies would fulfill me. But maybe I really would get lost and swallowed up in it and lose myself and become unhappy.
It’s hard to know any of this. It’s hard to know how I will be as a mom. I do know I’ll be very hard on myself, because screwing up a small human is kind of a big deal. But I also know there are second and third and fourth chances, that children are forgiving, and that motherhood will provide an opportunity to grow and use the atonement in ways I never have before. And I suppose that’s what really matters.
But I will still go to the movies, too.