Posted in Blog, Featured, Mother, Shawna, Wife

Mom-myopic

Once you become a mom, it’s crazy how quickly your viewpoint on everything changes. Suddenly, you see the world through mommy-vision. I don’t just mean how this troubled world suddenly comes into sharp focus as you realize your little ones will have to live in it. Or even how you suddenly can relate more to all mothers, especially your own, and how you’re a little less sympathetic to anyone who isn’t one.

Pacing the floor at 2 in the morning, with no sleep in your future and no real relief in sight for hours, days, years, you wonder how on earth other mothers did what you’re doing while also contending with war, famine, genocide, you name it. You wonder how they did it without washing machines, without birth control, without the right to vote.

You suddenly wish you knew a lot more about those women, and maybe a little less about their sons and husbands.

I often think about this poster that my mom hung up in our laundry room when I was a kid. It was black and white, a blow-up of some ancient laundry soap ad. “Every day she did the impossible,” it said. At the time, I saw it as ironic or cutesy or something, like Rosie the Riveter, or Buy War Bonds or some such. But I get it now. Sometimes, during moments of complete chaos, those words are my salvation. Every day she did the impossible. Other times my mantra is simpler: Live through this. This too shall pass.

Your concept of womanhood is vastly changed, your view of marriage and especially of gender relations forever altered. The way you see your body shifts two-fold as you accept at once the majesty of its ability and the destruction of some of its aesthetic attributes.

There are entire categories of movie you can’t even consider watching anymore, news stories you should never, ever read.

You find yourself watching Steel Magnolias and, though you are only a few years older than Julia Roberts’ character, you are now totally crying for Sally Field.

There is a strange universality in the very specific and very acute love you feel for your child. Sometimes you will be holding them, feeling their weight against your shoulder, their breath against your cheek and you will think of  some other child being neglected or hurt and you will find yourself panting, desperate, feeling like the wind was knocked out of you, like you might lose your mind.

At the same time, you have an odd understanding for the mothers who kill their children. You could never, ever do such a thing, but you have some understanding for the madness that can come of caring for young children, for the frustration you can feel when all you want is a minute, just one minute of peace, and the desperation that comes when you realize you won’t be getting it.

I know that I will never see the world the way I used to, will never see my own purpose the same way. That some things will never go back to being the way they were before, and I’m not just talking about my boobs.

I’m not too sad about it, either, though I recognize that my mommyvision comes at the expense of my carefree youth. Oh well. At least I had one.

I feel a much stronger sense of community than I’ve ever felt before, a connection to mothers throughout history. I feel closer to my friends and neighbors, less competitive, more loving. I feel more motherly to people who aren’t mothers.

Motherhood has taught me to be patient and kind, to maintain my sense of humor under extreme duress. It’s made me self-reliant and forgiving, creative and optimistic.

Now why the hell can’t I list it on my resume?

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  1. Beautiful. So well-said.

  2. preach, sister. i’m all ears and nodding head.

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