Lately, I’ve been feeling the weight of responsibility a bit more than usual. The older my children get, the more aware I become of the fact that I’m a mother to girls. I don’t know whether I would feel differently towards a son, but the fact that I’m a woman raising other women is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.
When Maia was smaller, I was more taken by the daily challenges and worries. Most of my energy went into making sure she was eating, healthy and happy. Obviously, those are still daily priorities, but I now think a lot more about her future and that of her sister. I try to imagine the women they will grow into and which qualities will define them as adults. What this usually does is make me take a long, hard look at myself and try to see what kind of woman they see in me.
I have noticed that I myself tend to mirror my own mother’s behaviour and way of thinking, especially when it comes to parenting. I wish I could say I was as selfless, efficient and hard-working as she is, but I am nowhere near as nurturing. What I did notice, however, is a tendency to feel guilty if I so much as take my own needs into consideration. I am the daughter of a woman who never stopped to think about herself. She is the most giving person I know. I grew up believing that being a parent meant putting your own life on hold indefinitely and only noticed what was happening last year, when a small bubble of resentment inside me started to grow until I felt like it was choking me.
I want my daughters to grow into strong, independent women who believe in themselves and go after their dreams. I secretly hope they will one day experience the joy of being parents, though I’d never make them feel like they are expected to. And if they do become mothers, I want them to be well-rounded individuals who work and have interests outside motherhood while raising their own children. Which brings me to the question: are they seeing these qualities in me? I certainly preach about them often, but I cannot say I am living them.
What I alluded to last week is my fear of letting go of the guilt feelings which are holding me back. I have come to realise that I am using them as an excuse to sabotage myself. I guess it’s time I started practising what I preach.
image credit: Pola & Frank via Hanna Andersson on Pinterest