A year into motherhood at the age of 44, I am realizing that part of the reason I put off having a child for so long was that I never really thought I was mom material. I thought that moms, like brides, were something that other women got to be. Now my family and friends pointed out my way with children from the time I myself was a child. I think I was about eight the first time I babysat, and when I became a teenager I took a summer job working as a camp counselor. When my college friends started having kids about ten years ago they were quick to point out my talents with their own young ones, and they were also quick to ask when was I going to have one of my own?
Whenever I returned home after visits to my friends and their kids, back to my stagnant world of quiet coupledom and a man who seemed dead set against the idea of offspring, I was always wistful. But soon enough I would be pushing my feelings down, telling myself that maybe it just wasn’t meant to happen for me, and that my occasional visits with the children of friends was enough. I also worked in education, as a substitute teacher and tutor, and satisfied my love of children this way.
I think eventually my success in this work gave me the confidence to believe that I could parent my own children. Cookie cutter I will never be. And at some things I may fail miserably. But finally I am getting the gist that there are as many kinds of moms as there are boobs, and I don’t have to be Martha Stewart to be a good mom. I don’t have to spend my days endlessly swathing my surfaces in bleach. I don’t have to worry when the dishes pile up and the laundry gets out of hand if my child is happy and engaged and pumping serotonin and ocytocin. I can be good at a few things. I can master the basics. I can shoot for swell. Swell is pretty darn great. Leave Super to the Type A’s and their endless scheduling, their unabated quest for perfection. Let’s just try to be happy and well in the here and now and swell of Mom Material.
Rachel C. Dowling
More Like This
Most Popular on BlogHer
Most Popular on Family
Recent Comments on Family