Saturday, June 21, 2014

Motherhood Anxiety: Part 1

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. 


Pattee Retana said...

Janae, it truly saddens me that this that becoming a mother causes you anxiety. You must remember that every parent makes mistakes. Each child is different. We learn as we go. Being a mother of five, the biggest mistake I made was to NOT make time for myself. For some reason people think that the more involved you are with your children the better parent you are. I disagree. I think when you forget about you and the things you enjoy because what your kids like or want is supposed to be more important, you just raise them to take you for granted and take advantage you. Of course these things don't come to light until they get older and then you spend your time asking yourself where you went wrong. So, with that said, go to your movie and never forget your hubby should come first. In the end he will still be there.

Cara & Clarence Jessop said...

I'm totally with you and as a mom now I can tell you that if I don't have time to myself, I would go crazy too and a lot of times I do. It is harder because you don't have the free time you once had, but you're right, by making time for yourself to do what you love you will be a better mom. That's why there are family, friends, and babysitters, and wow I would go crazy without them! This is something I really struggle with too, so don't feel that you're alone!

Robert and Lanie Meyers said...

I'm the friend, I'm the friend! This is something all women experience, the big question of what is a good mother, and will I loose myself? I experience it as do most Mom's. It is so natural for us to feel uncertain and stressed about being able to do the things we love most. I can tell you one of the things I have loved most, as a Mom, is sharing my favorite things with my children. Taking my 4 year old to his first movie at the theater, watching him try amazing food at restaurants etc, brings a whole new level of fun. You get all these first time fun with your kids and add that to your personal alone time fun and it equals lots and lots of fun! You have to take alone time for yourself as everyone does no matter what state of life you are in. Including Mothers. I have to tell you that being a dedicated Mother, in my opinion, involves doing what you think is right for you and your kids and believing in that 100%. She went so long without seeing one because it was her choice. Her personal preference was to do other things. My dear friend wanted children from a young age and didn't get married until she was in her late thirties and not able to have her kids until almost her forties. She has described, that whats fun for her is to spend time with her husband and kiddos because she has spent so much time by herself doing things for herself in her younger years. Its about whats finding the best balance for ourselves. In her season of life she wants to just be full time Mommy and I respect her for it. She is dedicated to exactly what she wants to do. More power to her. I just said she is a dedicated Mother because she dedicates her time to exactly what she wants to do and whole heartily. For her that's always to be on Mommy duty. The most important thing I have come to learn as a Mother is to always not judge ourselves negatively based on how other Moms do things. We can't compare, we are all too different. We will always be hard on ourselves naturally, so love each Mom for who they are including ourselves. Lots of Love!!!