Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Real About Me

Mothering is a daily adventure into uncharted territory. No one else has ever parented these children in this stage in this mood under these circumstances. Consequently, no one has the answers to any of our daily struggles - trust me, I've looked everywhere. It's like we're all playing a game with an opponent who gets to change the rules at will...without telling anyone.

I don't have the answers for anyone else, much less for myself, but I do know this: We're ALL struggling. And none of us are talking about it.

The Perfect Mom you see at the grocery store with the polite children in matching outfits, her hair styled and nails neatly manicured - she's a figment of your imagination. She has bad days, pajama and bedhead days, temper tantrum days, exhausted and frustrated days, even yelling and shaming days. I guarantee it. How do I know? Because I've been told I'm that mom. BAHahahahaha!!...Oh, sorry. Excuse the outburst. I've been told I look like I have it all together, like there's peace and harmony between me and my children, like I have a sense of calm about me...seriously.

But the truth is I'm just as much like the Real Mom at the grocery store, with the screaming kids knocking items off shelves, sweatpant-clad with food in her hair and fear in her eyes. We all have our good days and our bad days, triumphs and failures.

And in the end no matter how prepared we are, we're all winging it. We pick up tools as we go, learn by trial and error, and just pray everyone comes out on the other side in tact. I'm convinced that if we, as mothers, can start showing our authentic, imperfect selves to each other, we would find that the understanding, support and collective wisdom we gain will bring us that much closer to our own version of Perfect Mom.

So here's my real About Me:

I'm a control freak. When I can't control my circumstances (read: my two year old's behavior) I get angry. When I get angry, I yell. When I yell, I feel guilty. When I feel guilty, I get angry at myself for losing control. The more out of control I feel, the more I try to control my circumstances...and so the ugly cycle continues. It takes every ounce of strength I have to prevent this from being a daily occurrence.

I'm a pessimist, a real-life Debby Downer. I have an uncanny ability to see and assume the worst in every situation. The end of the world happens daily for me. It takes all my energy to choose to see the world, and sometimes even the people I love, in a positive light.

I live in a black and white world. Every question should have an answer, and I want all the answers. I naturally value justice over compassion and understanding. My tendency is to value being "right" over all else. It takes everything in me to see the gray that covers nearly all of life, and to choose cooperation over competition.

Except in my very closest relationships, I'm not good at being real. I assume that opening myself up will bring negative judgment from others (hello again, pessimism, my old friend). I place a very high value on privacy, often at the expense of intimacy and all the growth, joy, and satisfaction that comes with it. Vulnerability is terrifying (especially when you expect to be ridiculed, judged or attacked!) so it's easier to pretend I have it all figured out and put together, no help needed. And, drum roll please...It takes everything I have to just be me - the good, the bad, and the ugly - in front of anyone.

That's a list of my defaults. But I'm also loving, dependable, passionate, intelligent, loyal, a good listener, warm, fun-loving, determined, never satisfied with 'good enough' for myself or the people I love, and never satisfied with living in default mode. Above all else, I'm a mom who loves her children more than life, and who would do literally anything for them...even start a blog reveling her failures and weaknesses in an attempt to find balance and a better life for them!

With this much of myself to overcome in a day to be who I truly believe I am underneath all the baggage that comes with 26 years of life, I don't have the energy to waste on constructing a perfect facade anymore. I'm choosing to free myself of that, and to put that energy into actually *being* all the things I look like I am from the outside. Buckle up...It's going to be a bumpy ride.


  1. Just curious if you have heard of unschooling.....seems like you would really enjoy it. I did not hear about it until my boys were older than yours and wish that I would have heard of it sooner. Your journey to authentic parenting sounds like what I have been doing with unschooling...only you have the benefit of starting it when they are younger.

    Ruth Suyamin

  2. Ruth, I have! Thanks for bringing it up. I'm sure it'll be a topic of conversation as the blog progresses. I'm really drawn to the concept, and in a lot of ways, we already practice it. But when it comes to actual schooling, I'm not sure how fully I'll be able to commit (or not commit? :P) With any luck, by then I'll be so freewheeling and carefree that it'll just come naturally :) I'd love to hear more about your unschooling journey if you ever care to share!