One of my favourite things about expecting a baby was the daydreaming – imagining not only what your child might be like, but also what kind of mother you’d be. Oh, I had a vision — I’d be efficient, nurturing, a great cook, creative, and a role model of a strong woman. I crafted myself a sort of idealized job description for motherhood. And when my kids were babies, I somehow managed to do things exactly as I’d imagined. I made organic baby food. I used cloth diapers. I breastfed for a long time. We co-slept. I kept my house clean. I knitted. I wrote a master’s thesis while on maternity leave. If I met that young mother now, I’d find her really annoying, frankly.
The image of the mother I thought I’d be began to diverge from reality sometime around when my kids started moving and speaking and having opinions of their own. The vision was still there, but it got dimmer as life got busier. I became less concerned about organic food and living up to an image of motherhood, and more concerned with just trying to survive what motherhood was throwing at me.
For over 13 years now, I’ve been in the thick of being a mother, and haven’t ever stopped to think about who I am as a mother. With Mother’s Day approaching, and my own mother quite fragile this year, I’m thinking more about motherhood as part of a woman’s identity. I am more than Puck and Daisy’s mother, certainly, but that’s a crucial part of who I am. My mother is, well, my mother, but it’s taken me over 40 years to realize that’s only one part of who she is, and there are aspects of her personality that are not part of her ‘mother’ identity. We are all so much more than someone’s mother, someone’s sister, someone’s partner. For women, ’mother’ is just one colourful filter that’s been layered over all the other identities and expectations in our lives, and our dreams of who we might have been or could become.Read More »