Last Wednesday, I invited a friend of mine to join me at a book launch Tweet Up for @KathyBuckworth and her book I am So the Boss of You, a lovely look at raising your children with corporate policies where Mom is in charge. My friend said yes right away. She was quite happy to get out of the house for the evening, being a stay-at-home-mom of a four year old and twin one-year-olds no one can blame her.
Most of the ladies we met that night were mom-preneurs—mothers who have launched a business from home in order to earn an income—handing out business cards and exchanging Twitter handles. My friend is taking a hiatus from her career at the moment and not yet bitten by the mom-preneur or social media bug. But what she did take out and show off were pictures of her kids on her smartphone. I couldn’t help my heart from melting, not only at the adorable babies, but also at the memory of that overwhelming bond with my children that got me showing their pictures to virtual strangers a mere two hours after me leaving them at home. Partially showing them from gushing pride and partially to see them again myself.
Being Mommy is the hardest job in the world. If you’ve been one or had one you know what I am talking about. But I’m not writing this as an Ode to all the work, sleepless nights, and physical sacrifices we go through. I want to look at how, at seemingly the same time, we can experience both an ecstatic love and a heart wrenching pain with our kids. And how at some point both us and our children need to loosen that bond to live our own lives.
I remember as a teen not wanting to be like my mom. I think it’s that healthy dose of independence that helps us differentiate ourselves from our mothers so that we can move on and be our own person. Right now, and for the last few years, my oldest daughter has been headlong in not wanting to be anything like me. And you know what? As a mother it hurts like hell. As a daughter I had no qualms about leaving the nest and forging my own way in life. As a mother, it’s like watching a piece of your heart walk out the door stuck to the bottom of their shoe. That same bond that had me pulling out baby pictures at work just to see my babies again has me wishing my daughter didn’t have to be so oppositional. I don’t love her any less today than I did seventeen years ago, I don’t like some of the choices she makes or how she like to make choices specifically to get a rise out of me, but I still love her tremendously.
I have read a lot of parenting books, and I continue to read them and broaden my understanding. But at the end of the day, I think it is the experience of growing spiritually through the aches and pains of parenting that is the gem hidden under all the dirty diapers and 2 a.m. feedings. Until I had a daughter of my own that leapt out of the nest I could never have learned this lesson, I certainly didn’t feel this by being a daughter venturing out in the world. So as painful as it can be sometimes, I learn more about myself and about the human condition. After all, we have children specifically so they can leave and have their own lives one day. Mine just left a little earlier and with a little more spunk, but I will grow through this and eventually be grateful for the experience. While I’m growing… hand me a hankie and her baby pictures.
Photo provided by www.lisaprosen.com