Sunday, September 15, 2013

Being A Mom Does Not Mean Changing Who I Am

   I love being a mom; I love my daughter more than anything, and I would do anything for her, but there is one thing she does not require of me: for me to morph into society's image of a 'good mom'. Anyone who is a mom knows that society in general expects certain things from moms. The individual may not, but as a whole, there is an image you are supposed to fit yourself into for society to view you as the good mom. You have to be the PTA mom, you have to be polished, you aren't supposed to have a potty mouth, you have to be a good cook and keep up with the house work. You aren't supposed to stand out; you are supposed to fit into this image, whether you work or stay at home. Slowly, these stereotypical images are changing, but they are still out there and if you don't fit them, you still have to deal with some backlash.
   The problem for me is that I don't fit into any of these images. For one, I have the biggest potty mouth. I really try not to on this blog because my mom doesn't like hearing the f-bomb every other word, which is often about how I talk, but for her, I tried to leave out the extensive potty mouth. I also don't like to cook; I can cook, and I do cook, but I don't get any enjoyment of it. When I am cooking or cleaning (something else I detest) I like to listen to loud and angry music, because I feel like being loud and angry too. I don't like the PTA. When my daughter first started school, I did consider joining the PTA, but I just didn't have the time between work and school and taking care of the home and mom stuff, and to be honest, I don't really fit that crowd and it's not something I would enjoy.
   There are other things as well. I mean, you might think this is a horrible confession, but I don't really like to be around strange kids, especially when there is no parent involved. I really don't appreciate that. I don't want other people's kids in my home unless those kids come with parents attached, and those parents have been invited. And I DO NOT invite people to my house if I do not know and like them. And if you are reading this and thinking, "Well, I know her and she doesn't invite me" just remember that I am the closest thing to a hermit that you can get without actually being a hermit. In fact, the only things that keep me from running away into the woods and living like a caveman is my daughter, my need for the internet, books, and video games, and my need for indoor plumbing. Those things alone prevent my hermit tranformation, so if you haven't been to my house, that doesn't mean that I don't like you. But society's image of a good mom doesn't include the antisocial introvert, so does that mean that I should change? In my opinion, the answer is a resounding NO.
   Another thing that society expects is the befriending of the 'right' people. But my question is who decides who the right people are? And how do they judge this? Because I have to tell you, this might seem strange after proclaiming that I am an antisocial introvert, but remember, I am only borderline hermit. I love to be alone; I am good at being alone, but I also like to have friends. I like to get to know people, and yes, there are times I just really need to be alone, but since I am not going to be living in the woods like a wild person, then I want to talk to people on occasion. And I am gonna talk to whoever I want to talk to. Which means that if I am talking to someone, and I like them, but then I find out that this person is a transgender woman who strips for a living, I am going to continue to talk to that person. I am not going to flinch away because that person might be a 'bad influence' on my daughter. If this person ever meets my daughter, as many of my friends do, I am going to expect them to not talk about the joys of stripping to my tween daughter, but other than that, my daughter needs to know how to get alone and respect ALL people and ALL walks of life. So while I am never going to be introducing her to known serial killers, she needs to know that there is more types of people out there, and she needs to be able to respect them. Since I believe that this is vitally important, I don't feel that I am doing my daughter harm by displaying this ability to get along and respect all walks of life in my own life. Plus, I tend to not get along with people who are only interested in fitting into society's cookie-cutter mold. And I don't want to teach my daughter that she has to fit herself into an image just to be accepted.
   But often these views are views that people try to attack me for having, and many times the basis of attack is that I am a mother, and I need to give my daughter a role model and good example. But in fact, I do think I am giving her a good example and a role model. Never in my life have I felt the need to give a shit what society thinks of me. What I care about is being a good person on the terms that I believe are the most moral and following the path that I believe God wants me to walk (because yes, I do believe in God; what I do not believe in is organized religion, which is another post altogether). And that path includes treating my neighbor the way I would want to be treated, which means with respect. And I believe that a woman can detest things like cooking and cleaning and being on the PTA, but still be a good mom. I can be the gamer/book nerd/introvert that I am and still be a good mother to my daughter. I don't have to fit the mold that society tries to force on parents.
   To be a good mom (or parent, if you are a daddy reading this) what you need to do is to provide an environment where your child feels safe and nurtured, where they can learn and grow. I provide that. I also provide unconditional love and I provide boundaries and rules, and I did not have to alter the core of who I am to do that.
   Am I the same person who I was eleven years ago when I gave birth to her? Of course not; there would be something seriously wrong with me if I had not grown as a person since then, but that does not mean that my personality went out the window. Being a mom does not negate my being Marie; I am both. 

No comments:

Post a Comment