A "Whole" Mom

A few months ago, my 5 year old entered the room and declared, "When I grow up I'm gonna be a mom!" Inwardly, my brain screamed, "Uh oh." I then asked, "And what else?" My 5 year old looked totally confused and said, "I dunno ... and a grandma?" I then went on a mini schpiel on how women can both be career-oriented and be mothers. My 5 year old took in the information (or maybe she didn't?), said, "Okay!" and then promptly ducked under the bed that I was making - because that's the most logical way to end a conversation, I guess.

I have nothing against women who's life aspirations are to be mothers. Sometimes that's just what one's calling is. I have concerns when a woman thinks that motherhood is the only thing she can do. The context in which I'm expressing my views are for those who live in a first world country, are of legal adult age and are not mothers due to rape or incest. I don't like seeing women who don't make the time or effort to educate themselves and/or discover who they are before resigning themselves to "just being moms". I use quotation marks because I want to be mindful. The intention behind the phrase, "just being a mom" is not a dig and it's not my intent to marginalized full time moms. The phrase, "You can be more than just a mom" in my context is being used to encourage those who aren't aware that there is more to life than just having a family. You can have your own dreams and personal desires in place of or in addition to having a family. This is why my brain screamed a short but poignant alarm when my 5 year old exclaimed that she was going to be a mom when she grew up. I do not fully know, nor do I trust that her mother has the same vision of motherhood that I do. I believe that one needs to know who she is first, that she needs to be as mentally and emotionally "whole" as she can be before she brings a mini-human into the world. The way I see it, you are inevitably going to inflict trauma on your child. It isn't done intentionally as it is human to make errors. I would say that it's a success story if your child is traumatized from circumstances that are completely different from the trauma you experienced as a child. (That's my dark humor kicking in.) Creating new damage means that you didn't perpetuate the cycle of dysfunction!

I will always encourage young people to either go to college or a trade school. Give yourself the education to do something that is in demand. Without a college degree or certification in a specialized field, you will always be limited to minimum wage jobs. I feel that the attitude Americans have over Capitalism is awful! The minimum wage is currently not a living wage. I've worked in the food industry as one of my day jobs and you do so much work for so little pay! Living parallel to and being occasionally inconvenienced by #3's lifestyle choices, I am convinced that getting a secondary education is imperative, especially if you're a single mom. At this point in time, #3 does not have a post-secondary degree. It seems to me that if one is intentionally going to be a single mom, having the capability to earn more than the minimum wage can eliminate a significant amount of stress. At one point #3 was working an incredibly shady job because the money that was being thrown at her was tremendously more than the other legal jobs she was working. I do strongly believe that if #3 would go back to school and get some kind of degree, she wouldn't have to rely on shady jobs. Apparently she has enrolled in an online program. I sincerely hope with all my heart that she will be able to complete it this time.

I know that my choice to stay with my boyfriend after finding out he had children could mean that I would have to raise another woman's child. This is currently the challenge that I'm working on. I still have feelings of not wanting to be a mom. If anyone has any tips on how to overcome these feelings, please let me know in the comments! Thankfully, I am able to compartmentalize my feelings because my 5 year old never asked to be a part of this. I am able to be a mother figure to her without taking my negative feelings out on her. Adults have thrown her into this situation and she is just expected to adapt. As I said in my last post that referenced #3, I look at my youngest bonus daughter as a baby-adult, an individual who will grow up to become her own person. I do not see her as an extension of her mother and as a result, I'm able to have love and compassion for her. I know that my 5 year old bonus daughter loves me and looks up to me. I feel her eyes on me all the time. She watches me and the more she's with me, the more I see her imitating me. For Christmas I bought my 5 year old a veterinarian kit. It came fully stocked with a stuffed kitty, stuffed dog, stethoscope, tongue depressor, pill bottles, shots, casts, tweezers and of course, you can't forget the Cone of Shame. I want her to know that she can be a mom after she gets to know herself and rise up to her full potential. The other night she asked me if I could buy a new house the next day. (A totally random request. I think she's just expressing whims?) I was about to embark on a series of sarcastic remarks about how houses are expensive, but stopped short when she started to describe how in the new house the light fixtures could hang elsewhere, we could move her bedroom to the other side of the house, we could paint one hallway purple and the other hallway orange. Instead of the sarcasm, I responded with a genuine, "Well how about you design the house and we'll build it." She instantly made a gesture to wave away her ideas and said, "Oh no, no...I can't." I said, "No, those were really good ideas! You could be an interior decorator when you grow up!" Her face changed with the encouragement. She lit up and said, "Oh yeah, those are good ideas!" She then continued to prattle on. I don't expect her to fully understand or even remember what an interior designer is, but the fact that she was open to hearing about it made me smile. I'll take any baby steps that will distance her from becoming an ill-prepared single mom.

As of last week, my 5 year old has been saying, "When I grow up I'm gonna have a job, a house, then be a mom and then I'll have a boyfriend!" For me, half of her order of events are off, but if she has enough money to afford a house, then fine, she can do what she wants! I guess she has been listening to me (and her dad). More power to ya, kid!

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