I was emailing back and forth with a friend. We were e-chatting about our top parenting tips. She prefaced her list of tips with “not that being a mother to one” is really parenting as told to me by one of my friends. I was left speechless. Not really a parent if you have just one child? Absurd but clearly the comment left a negative impact. Why is it that other mothers, you know the ones that can bring you up, can at the same time so readily cut you down?
But to be just a mother of one is that really NOT to parent? I have long felt that the beauty of being a good parent is in the discovery of your own child whether it be one or four children. If you have ever stayed up all night nursing a sick child, walked away from a tantrum or hugged the tears away well then you have been a parent and parented. Sure with one you will never have to deal with sibling rivalry but there is so much more to parenting than just this.
This reminded me of another reflection I had not so long ago. One of how there are these little clubs in life. You say what clubs? Well there is the married club, exclusive to the single girls who somehow no longer fit in. Then there is the “married with children vs. married without? This one can be particularly painful to endure if you are not childless by choice. This is then followed by the married with one child to married with multiple children. As if being more fertile (or having more children) somehow makes a woman more whole?
With some of these clubs the stigma is unspoken but nonetheless there. Some of my dear friends have been unintentionally exclusive because of these clubs. Some of you may not know where I am coming from but, this exists whether it is intentional or not.
What of the mother of none… say after a stillbirth or a death during childhood? I have never been so deeply touch as when I read about baby Aurora and how this particular mother questioned whether she should even mention that she was a mother to her daughter. Her sentiments were echoed in my friend Maggie’s post: Dignity Restore. Haven’t’ these women been mothers although they may not have known their children?
The list of disputes we have with our fellow mothers is endless. Another age old one I avoid is stay at home vs. working mom or perhaps something in between. On this front, I say strike the balance you need to make yourself your best YOU as this will result in you being the best mom. Then when you are with your children be in the moment. You can be home all day and not really be in the moment. And if you are stay at home, then don’t worry that you have lost your identity. One woman screeched out the following to me “People just think I am a stay at home mom…” And another woman who for a moment forgot her identity was reminded of her journey and all she has accomplished after reviewing my journey. Our accomplishments pile up bit by bit not all at once.
In knowing my friend who was so negatively impacted, I tip my hat off to her and all mothers whether it be to 0, 2 or 10 children and whether you are stay at home or working. We are all mothers nonetheless as Maggie said so poignantly.
Love to hear your thoughts!Photograph compliments of Lydia Shaw, www.lydiashawphotography.com. In the photo: me and my daughter.