What do you do when you are a mother who you are sure was never meant to have children? No matter how awful the pregnancy, there is so much excitement, the kind you had after your very first fun date with a boy or the kind before your birthday, where you know something unexpected and beautiful is going to happen. After the excitement, you find yourself as a mother who doesn’t have the nurturing ability she’s always expected to have. My kids are fed and clothed and I try to make time to play with them, but I find myself without much kindness, the kindness I expected would come naturally.
I see the mothers around me who miss their babies when they can’t be around them, while I look forward to time without them. I see mothers who look at their children with pride, who know that their children are the cutest ones around. And I do feel so much pride, but sometimes embarrassment over the things they do or to others’ reactions to my parenting.
I have a wonderful marriage, which I can blame my husband for entirely, but it allows me to feel like I was born to be a wife. Let’s say that one day I realise that I need to stop nagging my husband. Well, the next day I pay a little more attention to that problem and poof! Fixed. I walk, graceful and confident, through my marriage, but in motherhood…
In motherhood, I stumble and I step right on my children’s egos or I trip and land with a foot firmly in my mouth or I fall into a mommy meltdown and lack the control to pull myself back out.
As a wife, I am in control of my reactions to nearly every situation. I am an adult.
As a mother, I lack the self-discipline I know I should have. I relate to my three-year old all too well when she screams and tries to kick and punch even though she knows it means she won’t get any ice cream later.
As a wife, I can look at the unfinished carpentry project my husband has left on the kitchen table and bite my tongue.
As a mother, any project that my kids leave out is fuel for my tongue of fire.
As a wife, I respect my husband, his opinions, his interests, but as a mother I often find myself repeating the eternally useful and utterly demeaning, “uh huh.”
So what does a mother who was not meant to be a mother do? Options swim in and out of mind…run away (they’re better off without me) or stop trying and just let the inertia of the past carry me down the river of a runny, scrambled parenthood. The one that comes to mind last because it mostly involves running uphill is to pull myself up again, let myself fall and let myself cry my repentant tears while trying to listen to the inner voice who knows what a mother should do. I’m not that mom I see around town. I am Emily and I was never meant to be a mother, which means that, in the end, mothering will teach me more than it can ever teach her. My children will have to watch me clomp through their lives, graceless and destructive, and their job will be to love me even through that because they know that I have tried my very best to be who I was never meant to be but desperately want to be…their mother.