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Sunday, July 14, 2013

shifting the paradigm and telling the truth- wife and mother


(who gave me permission to share it, as I am so impressed by what she says)

I love my son and I am grateful for the experience of mothering, but it must not define me. I am glad that I was so young (23) and that it was such a surprise (a good choice for me) because I was never under the illusion that motherhood or the marriage to his father would complete me.  I'm grateful for the women who truly desired and became really good moms (I know many).  I'm also glad to hear from women who own NOT desiring motherhood, regardless of the fantasy that is pushed on women from the moment they are born.  I'm incredibly grateful that today, men and women can more easily dismiss fantasy based conditioning and define our own paths, fulfill our truly unique purposes. We can love and have fun, choose intense life long commitments or not~ I suppose the choices were always there, but it was considered deviant to stray from "norm".  I hope that as a culture we continue to be more accepting of a variety of life choices.

People who push the concept of all women desiring motherhood and marriage are pushing a fantasy that has little to do with the reality of parenting. Yes, mothering is rewarding and has it's joys, but fantasy pushers neglect to mention the unspeakable pain mothers experience when a child is very sick or dies. The unspeakable frustration when a child grows up to be the antithesis of what the mother thought she was guiding the child to. What worry is like from a mothers POV. What mothering does to selfhood. How many little girls playing with dolls, toy kitchens and other "girl toys" are aware that the most convenient way to control a woman is through a threat (real or imagined) to her child? Do those little girls know what guilt is? That a man can be a politician, director, bus driver, toll taker, anthropologist, minister and no one asks, "but who is taking care of your children?", yet a mother is asked that often. She may be the primary bread winner AND the primary caregiver, all the while being tossed a heap of guilt and being paid less. Once upon a time, an excuse people gave for women being paid less was that the man was the primary financial supporter of the household. We know that is not the case anymore and we know that all humans are worthy of equal pay for equal work- but we still don't have that, do we? I connect that lack of equal pay to the "marriage and baby" fantasy girls are force fed. The story told in film & TV is that women are trapping men, but let's be honest, men tend to make out better than women in the marriage dept. Married men suddenly have a built in support system while married women suddenly de rail their ambitions to support his. Marriage is too often like a trap for women, especially once they have children. While it's pretty uncommon and probably looked down upon for a man to consider his life's purpose being a support system for his wife's dreams and goals -women are still being fed the notion that it is noble to make one's life purpose supporting their husbands dreams and goals. I've witnessed many women who momentarily succumbed to the 'supporting your husband will fulfill you' fantasy, wake up and flea from it or find themselves dismissed after years of service with little to show for the work they did that was not considered "work". I'm gratefully aware that there are more healthy relationships now than ever before- relationships that truly live in the moment and are beneficial to each partner equally. I believe honest storytelling can help shift relationships and allow the vision of equal partners supporting each others life purposes, to come to fruition.

Parenting is an enormous life altering experience that can be quite fulfilling, but it is not necessary for a fulfilled life. People who claim they don't or wont change when they become parents are probably frightfully bad parents.  Men who play the role of assistant to mom, are not really living up to the role of father as best they can and as would be most appreciated by the children.  In my experience, motherhood has been a great teacher; I have experienced great joy and extreme worry thanks to this role. I had no idea what sacrifice meant previous to parenthood. Thank goodness I was and still am one who allows art to come through me; mothering is not my only purpose in this life.  Still, parenting changed my perception, the art that comes through and the order of my priorities.  Parenting changed how I function and so did my career, my friendships and the communities I belong to. It's usually when a child behaves in a way we wish they wouldn't that we experience the realization ~I am my child's teacher, but I am not my child's only teacher.  That knowledge is easier to digest when the choice of mothering is part of a life's fulfillment, not all of it.

I WISH more women and men who claim they yearn for parenthood would FOSTER humans. Would BABYSIT at a shelter while mom is in a therapy session. Would become a Big Sister or Brother. If you are authentically wishing you were a parent, please volunteer your time and energy to make a child's life better. Being in a paid positon to teach doesn't prepare you as much as committing as a volunteer who cares for children does. If you say you ache to be a parent and you're not doing something to improve the life of a child already here, I suspect you are probably succumbing to a mass fantasy and deep down, you don't really want a child in your life.  Those who say, "I would, but I don't have the time/money/etc." are lying to themselves.  If you really wish to have a child in your life, you can make time and find a way to help any one of the millions of children ACHING to be cared about.  It doesn't cost a penny to hold a crack addicted baby in the NICU. It doesn't cost you more than a cup of coffee at Starbucks to get your ass to a shelter and volunteer. So stop the lies, stop propagating the fantasy of "I wish I was married to a rich man or perfect women and could have children with her/him". Children of rich men and seemingly perfect women can grow up to be addicts, criminals, they too are born with challenges and develop challenges. You don't have to wait for a fantasy to come to life- you can be there for a child now.

The fantasy of a perfect married life and your perfect little children is as real as the prince waking a dead girl in the forest with a kiss.  You don't really want to be that sleeping beauty and you don't really want to be that prince.  Get over that lie and go on to nurture what you really care about.  Yes, fall in love, but don't let that love define you. If you have children, a job, a career, don't let any one of those things define you. Your desire in life can be what you truly, deeply desire and create in that space inside that is beyond conditioning.

We can live beyond fantasy and fulfill our unique life's purpose.

This essay was written by a woman who did not grow up dreaming of a wedding, who does not like shopping, is not the competitive type- prefers collaboration, doesn't get "catty", is straight, enjoys really good sex,  spiritual community and very good friends and family,  is counted on by many, is a leader, works in a male dominated, creative industry in positions that are primarily held by men, is the lead character in her story, not the supporting character in others stories and encourages others to live their greatest purpose. This essay was written by a woman who consciously makes an effort to come from love ~everyday.

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