I am not a natural mother. I am not the mother who looks like she has it all together. I am not that mom who has no idea who she would be without her kids. I am not that mom who defines herself as a mom first. I am not the mom who always knew she would have kids.
I am the mom who used to hate being a mom. Don’t get me wrong — I love my kids and would do anything for them. But the job description, hours, pay and ability to advance in this career suck. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. Raising children is the most important job in the world, but you can’t put it on a resume.
As much as the scales for equal rights for women have become more balanced, that is not the case if you are a mother, especially a stay at home mother. We work for free with no retirement, health, or other long term benefits. We are not respected or valued by society, and oftentimes our families and friends. Our job is often trivialized. And more often then not we are isolated and overworked.
My short-lived career was as a teacher. While I was doing it, I really enjoyed it. In high school and college, I babysat in all of my free time. So I am not anti-children or childhood. And I do really like kids.
My ex wanted a big family. And he was the boss. I vividly remember feeling uneasy about this. But not feeling like I could say anything. And if you knew me back then I always said that we wanted a big family. All the “we’s” from back then were really “he’s.” We had two kids back to back. And then we we became unable to have more, even with medical assistance. The universe knew better.
When we were married we had a very affluent lifestyle. I was a stay at home wife and mother. That lifestyle included a nanny and housekeeper to help in the raising of the kids and running of the house. It allowed me to do the parts of parenting I loved. The projects, experiences, classes and play dates.
Now as a single mom, raising the kids, I am so thankful to have only two. I don’t want to say I am doing it all on my own but I am doing a lot more. I do have my amazing partner, Chris, who lives with us. We also have a cleaning lady and babysitter one time a week. But mostly, I am a mom, and it’s my full time job. Let’s face it: kids are exhausting, messy, expensive, and a lot of work. And quite honestly, many aspects of parenting contrast with my true nature as an experimental free spirit. Things like schedules, rules, discipline, and bed times.
Over this past year and half I have really grown and begun flourishing in this role as a mother. I truly love being with my kids. Maybe it’s their ages, 6 and 7. Or maybe it’s the stage in my journey. I used to unabashedly tell people I hated being a mother and that I was bad at it. Let me preface it by saying I considered myself a bad mom because I did not enjoy being with them, I kind of dreaded it. I let them watch TV or YouTube to not have to parent, I fed them whatever they wanted, I did whatever was easiest for me. Not what was best for them. There was absolutely no abuse or neglect. I just did the minimum the job required.
As I have been moving through my work on myself something changed. I started loving being with them. I started really parenting. And I started getting really good at it. The better I got the better they got. They are flourishing in all aspects of their lives and that is because I am nourishing them. I stopped judging myself and feeling inferior.
Motherhood will always be the hardest job. It is the toughest job you will ever love. But to me, it is where I am meant to be. After all, I am the Suburban Goddess Mom. It’s in the title.