reviewed Tiffany Markman, mom to a two-year-old, tries to balance her workaholism with cuddling her daughter, reading books, consuming caffeine & reining in her intrinsic kugelry. Follow her on twitter.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
I have a precious friend who lost her daughter 10 days before her due date. She spent seven minutes with her baby, total. But I believe she would have been a 100% mommy. An absolute natural. She was born for motherhood.
Then there’s me. I’ve been a mother for two years. I’m not a natural. I had a rough start. I muddle my way through mostly, at 80% (which is, in fairness, still an A). But I feel confident saying that, 24 months in, I’m a good mommy.
Now, am I more of a mother than my friend? I’d like to think not. The more I dwell on it, the more it seems that motherhood shouldn’t be something you experience only once you have a baby. It should be something that comes from holding a child in your heart. Even for a short time. However, it’s possible that I’m being idealistic.
I can’t decide.
I have another two friends. Neither one is an actual mother. But each one has a child in her life that utterly defines her. That is part of her every decision, holiday and memory. That these two friends ‘mother’ (verb) these young girls is unquestionable. But does that mothering make them mothers? No. (Yikes, this is confusing.)
So, it seems that not all mothers are intuitive motherers and some women who are unbelievable motherers aren’t actually mothers. Which is an interesting paradigm.
My husband says that being a mother (he extends this to being a father too, obviously) means permanence. It means having a person in your life whose wellbeing, sleep, food, mess, manners and mood are defining parts of your every day, night and waking thought. Who, if they’re not with you 24/7, are in your head 22/7.
On this basis, being a mother goes beyond being pregnant or having a god-child/niece. Because it doesn’t come and go. It just is, for twenty or thirty years.
Yes, there are people who probably shouldn’t be mothers (Toddlers & Tiaras moms, this means you), but there are so many more who should be. And this Mothers’ Day, my wish is for all of the women who so badly want to be mothers to know the joys, the pains, the guilt, the drama, the laughs, the exhaustion and the snot. To be able to take their mothering up a notch on the permanence scale, to the non-stop.