I went out for breakfast with a dear friend at the end of 2018 and as we were catching up with each other’s lives, she spoke to me about my “power”. You see, she was breaking down for me my “power” as a mom. I am in a constant struggle with finding my place as a mom which I know sound so weird since I have been a mom for over 15 years. But for me- being a mom has never felt natural. It has never felt like a true calling. I know that for many people that just doesn’t seem right, that I could feel this way. But it is in fact… the truth for me. Let me explain why this one conversation and this word has had me thinking all sorts of things… and since it is me, you know it will be a LOOOONNNNGGGG explanation.
Because of this, my parenting style is quite different. I am all over the place with my kids and any given time. My love for them is real, my confidence in parenting- not so much. I do not parent each of my children the same way. What works for one, may not work for the other two. As they change in age, their needs and my requirements shift. Unfortunately these shifts do not always match their needs and can sometimes be excessive, but again, this is my truth.
D and I have a lot of help with our kids. With my steady work schedule and Damian’s not so steady schedule, we need the help. This is where things begin to get tricky. I am so darn grateful for all the help that I receive. My older sister, who is like the world’s greatest aunt, will almost always be willing to help out with driving and babysitting if necessary. She works full-time and some of the only times she is unable to help out is due to prior work commitments. My parents will almost always be able to help out on the weekends if need be. I tend to not ask them for weekday help because of their full time work schedules and I know they help out with my niece as well. My in-laws are almost always available for the day-to-day help. Picking kids up from the bus, from school if they are sick, weekends if possible. They are becoming more and more busy and in demand as they are gaining more precious grandchildren and they try to make themselves available for all of them. And again- I am so grateful for ALL of the help that my entire family receives.
And yet, oh dear- isn’t there always a contradiction with me? And yet, sometimes the help becomes too much for me. I have an issue with boundaries. I either have far too many and don’t allow people to even scratch the surface or I allow people to have no respect for them whatsoever and get all up into my space. This is where the trouble lies.
I need help and I appreciate help. I sometimes don’t ask for help because of my pride, but I need it almost all the time. I will never get a mom of the year award. (I wouldn’t really want that piece of junk anyway- I mean, I wouldn’t even know where to put it) My children probably won’t look back at their childhood and remember many family game nights or amazing family vacations – and I am okay with that. However, I don’t want them to look back and only remember the crappy times and the arguments.
Okay— so I got into all of that because this is what made my dear friend start to talk about my “power”. As I have been navigating through these various thoughts surrounding self-care, self-love, finding myself – I have been pulling away from many people. One of these people would be my husband. I notice that as I begin to change in some areas of my life, some areas stay the same and sometimes these are the areas that need the change the most. The biggest area is my relationship with my immediate family- Damian, Madison, Myles, and Mayci. These past couple of years have been the roughest. Damian and I have drifted apart, my relationship with Myles and Mayci is not nearly as I strong as I would like it to be, Madison and I have been the worst we have ever been. So it has been quite a relationship mess in our little Curtis household.
Without going into all the nitty-gritty details, in speaking with my friend she started to tell me that as a mom I have a “power” that no one could take from me in that I am my children’s mother. I am their mom. I carried each of them for at least 37 weeks in my body and I physically brought them out into the world. I have held them while they are upset, nursed boo-boos back to health, cheered them on during their successes, scolded them for their wrong doings… But this still didn’t seem to sit with me well. I do love my children. My love for them may be displayed in ways different from other mommas out there. I have done all of those things mentioned above– but there are other people in their lives who have done the same for my children(and at times even more)- that my children have bonded with more. And because of that, more often than not, I feel inadequate as a mom. Especially for Myles and Mayci. I believe that in my absence, they would not look for me or feel as though they need me for anything. I do not feel like I have that “power.”
My friend insists that this is not the case. That among all of my insecurities surrounding parenting, I still hold a position in all 3 of my children’s lives. And I am starting to realize how true this is over the past several weeks. About a month ago, my father in law brought something up to my husband. He informed my husband that Myles (my 9 yr old) told him that he didn’t think that I loved him because I never want to spend time with him. I did speak with Myles and got the whole story, but we won’t even get into that today. Regardless of the “actual story”, this situation got me thinking. I started questioning even more so about my relationship with my kids and where I stand with each of them. From that moment – I began to realize my impact on my children’s lives. I spend time with my son watching basketball or talking about school, cherish my girly time with Mayci speaking of princesses and goals, and am starting to actually enjoy my more “grown up” teenage talks about all of those coming of age topics with Madison. What I haven’t done to be honest is change anything about my parenting, I have just made the time I am with my children more intentional. I don’t even know if I have truly increased the quantity of time that I have spent with my kids, but I sure as hell am focused on the quality of that time.
Have I fully embraced my “power”? I have no freaking clue. Do I feel that my power is diminished by others? Yeah- I think I may still feel this way a little. The thing that is different– I am no longer allowing the bond that my children have with other people(grandparents, friends, other family members, etc)- to make me feel like less of a mom. I am beginning to understand just how lucky my children are to have even more people they feel bonded to and how their worlds do not begin and end with me.
YES- as I always like to remind everyone…my relationship with my children is different. Many other moms would frown upon it- but I think that makes my dynamic even more special. My children will have their own stories to tell. And while I hope that these stories are fun and light, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tell of the meltdowns,scary moments, and hard times. Those times aren’t a secret. They aren’t anything to be ashamed of. They are a merely just another dimension of my phenomenal power!
To all you mommas out there (and daddys too)- I will not give you advice. I have no advice to give. I have no magic tricks, no mommy win stories, nothing… just words from my experience that I would hope you wouldn’t judge me for. And if you do…that’s cool also. What I will tell you is this: your relationship with your kids is just that. It is YOUR relationship with YOUR kids. NOT ONE DAMN PERSON can take that away from you.
Find your power! Own your power! Embrace your power! Cherish your power!
In all things find beauty,