Worthiness Part 1

As a mother of three children under the age of nine, I am just crawling out from beneath the mountain of self-doubt, pre-packaged snack food, and societally imposed “shoulds” that can heave themselves upon uninitiated parents.  Since I have never appreciated clich├ęs, when I hear “Everything happens for a reason,” it causes involuntary eye-rolling.  “Live, laugh, love” and “It is what it is” fall into the same category for me:  people putting on a happy face instead of examining what hurts and changing their understanding in a meaningful way.  When you collapse into deep, senseless depression and you are desperate to be present in your kids’ lives despite it, those hackneyed expressions are a waste of your precious breath and mental space.  Instead of turning to generic phrases to smooth over raw emotions, I prefer to tell myself mini-stories.  In each one I am the same character in a different setting.  When I imagined sharing this experience with others to light their paths and amuse them, I couldn’t settle on just one perspective.  In reality, it depends on the moment.  That’s what mothers do.  They must find either the humor or the lesson in every situation.

Quick, Jaded Version of the Last 13 Years of my Life
I was driving along and crashed head-on into a pile of marriage, babies, confusion, headaches, mortgages, joy-sucking illnesses, dashed expectations, and rare glimpses of what I thought life was supposed to be.

Hillbilly Version
I crapped out three kids.  They hauled out my busted uterus.  I ain’t done nothin’ outside this house since 2005…”  Joe Jr! Shut Up!  Momma’s recordin’ her innermost thoughts!”  I told seven different bosses to start runnin’ and I’d give ‘em ten seconds before I got my gun.

Flowery Elizabethan Version
Loving a man more profusely than the sun shines through the rosettes at the most wondrous cathedrals in France, I joined myself to him for eternity.  We met on the shores of passion and risk, dove headlong into the sea of uncertainty, bringing forth three magnificent babes. 

As any committed mother aiding in the formation of the future generations, I gave myself fully to their nurturing, education, and happiness.  In this work, I too found my purpose, my nurturing, education, and happiness.  But, man, this corset is a little tight sometimes.

Practical Midwestern Version
Well, we were married after an adequate engagement.  We then discussed the possibility of children for a time.  After our baby girl was born, we struggled to reshape our lives as parents, but that’s just what you do.  We had two more sons, buckled down, and got to the hard work of teaching children and being good examples.  Now we’re tired and we need to rest.

Denial Version
Being a mother is 100% fulfilling all the time.  It’s made my marriage stronger and I don’t regret taking a backseat to Tae Kwon Do and second grade Christmas pageants.  Kids need those things to learn about life and get a good job as adults.  I don’t need any thanks and I don’t miss having too many choices and so many friends.  Seeing the kids enjoy online games and new apps on the tablet is enough thanks.  I love having other children over too.  It just adds to the fun.  It’s not a happy home unless there are muddy boots in the living room and marker on the walls.

Sweaty, Panicked, Downward Spiral Version
They got candy again for doing their homework?  I forgot to plan dinner for tonight!  We have chicken nuggets.  They had those for lunch.  I have canned salmon.  Joe hates fish.  I can make salmon cakes and cheese quesadillas.  The lettuce is wilted, so they’ll have to have frozen peas.  What a crappy dinner.  I’ll make some cookies so I have something to bribe them to eat their peas with.  I am already so bloated.  But seriously, candy in schools!  Too many weeknight obligations!  A Native-American Dwelling Project due for my third-grader!  Quesadillas for dinner five nights in a row!  My fat pants don’t fit!  I’m freaking out!  I’m going to eat some of the candy my kids brought home from school!  I feel guilty about eating their candy!  I’m such a terrible mom! 

Self-defeatist Victim Living in Fear Version
I am so tired all the time.  If I didn’t have to work so hard to protect my family from the commercialism and gluten running rampant, I could have more time to myself.  There is no way for a woman to have a good job and be a decent mom in this society.  No one is there for me and I just need a break.  If I look for a job outside the home, chances are it won’t pay enough and it won’t be worth leaving my kids for anyway.  Somehow we’ll make it through the rest of this day.  Only six hours until bedtime. 

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