Whilst sipping on our drinks purchased after yesterday’s school band concert at another school, the Tween and I were discussing different things.
I remember saying to her “Some days it is the hardest thing in the world to be a mother”. She replied “Well why did you do it”?
I believe my answer was “Because I wanted you all”. (I then went on and said some other things but for the purposes of this story, that one line is the most important).
I guess I didn’t realise when I pictured myself holding a tiny baby in my arms and showering it with kisses that babies grow up and that growing up brings a whole new set of issues to deal with. To be honest, I don’t believe any mother thinks much beyond the baby and early childhood years when thinking about having a baby and there certainly aren’t too many books aimed at parents that urge them to think about this either.
I believe I blogged once before about the difficulties of parenting adults due to the fact that your baby is no longer a baby. However the parenting just doesn’t stop.
It morphs in some weird way in which whilst you are still a parent, you are also a fellow adult (with a lot more life experience).
The difficulty I am finding with motherhood right now is the limitations I have.
I think all mothers need to realise that in our Motherhood Tool Kit there is no magic wand that can zap difficulties away. There is no degree in medicine. And there certainly isn’t a large pair of scissors to cut the emotional ties to those beings you sent off into the world with nothing but the teachings you could give them during their time in your care.
I was discussing motherhood with the First Born the other day and I said to her “We do the best we can with the knowledge that we have. Yes, we make mistakes but sometimes we don’t realise the extent of those mistakes until our children are adults and tell us.”
What I didn’t say (and I should have) is that mothers feel guilt. When something is brought to light after many years, the questions begin. “Why didn’t I see it”? or “What could I have done differently”?
I guess that is a mother thing to do right?
Blame yourself for not fixing things correctly the first time? Or for not fixing an issue at all because you didn’t know it existed?
Unfortunately our super hero capes and x-ray vision glasses overlooked these things.
I think it is inherent in mothers to want to fix everything. When a child is young, this is so much simpler. The issues are simpler. They require a band-aid, a kiss or some parental intervention and then all is well in the world once again.
You can wipe away the tears and hold them and know that pretty soon they will find something to play with and all will be right in the world once again.
What happens though when your child is all grown up and is able to fix things themselves but doesn’t know how to do it? At what point, does a mother need to step back and say “Hey, I can advise you. I can help you but I can’t do the fixing. That’s your responsibility”. And whilst they are saying that, their heart is breaking into a million tiny pieces.
How many tears are shed whilst a mother watches their child make selfish decisions that affect not only themselves but those around them but she. can’t. fix. the. problem?
When a child suffers, a loving mother suffers also.
When a child is making mistakes and the mother (with her wisdom of having living longer) can see where those mistakes will lead, what does she do? She can only say “Hey, think about things”. She can’t step in and tell their child to stop doing this because that would take away their free will.
It takes away their opportunity to learn and grow.
It takes away their life experience that they need in order to parent their own children one day.
Sometimes support is difficult to give and wisdom seems the better option.
Sometimes being a mother is difficult with all the limitations there are.