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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Can't Focus On The Politics

I was going to write about some thoughts on the Presidential election currently going on in the States, but I find that I can't complete what I want to write. I just can't write about anything political right now. Oh, don't get me wrong. I have opinions about what's happening and the candidates, but I just don't feel like putting thought to digital paper at the moment.

So, let's talk about something else in the meantime. I want to talk to all the mothers out there. I want to talk to both those that have been courageous enough to work and take care of their children, and those that have been brave enough to make taking care of your home your full time job.

I want to know your experiences. I want to know if you share the same dilemmas as I do. For those of you who also work outside the home, do you feel any guilt for being away from your child? Do you have any regrets? Do you feel the tear within yourself that you have to be everywhere at once, 100% dedicated at work and 100% dedicated at home? Do you feel the struggle within, wondering if it's all worth it?

For those of you at home, do you regret giving up a career or the prospects of a career? Do you feel at all unfulfilled? Do you sometimes feel unappreciated, as if the job you're doing isn't as important simply because you don't get paid to do it? Do you feel trapped sometimes?

The reason I ask is because I realize that as I settle more into motherhood, those types of questions travel across my brain at one point or another during the day or during the week. It's a roller coaster of inner fighting and conflict that a man can never understand. It's the constant struggle for balance between nurturing and caring for one's young and achieving some form of inner happiness and self fulfillment that is outside of simply being a mom. Of course, I use the word "simple", and I left. There is nothing simple about being a mom. You are raising the future. What can be simple about that? There's a reason in Judaism that it while it is on the father to ensure a child's education, the burden of education and teaching a child the way's of G-d fall to the mother. She chooses what kind of education a child receives in the home, for that is her domain. She has the instincts for what her child needs.

I'll give you an example. Last night, my baby woke up screaming bloody murder a couple of hours after we put him to sleep. He normally does not wake up like this so soon after we put him down. My husband and I immediately knew something was wrong. We tried changing his diaper. That wasn't the problem. We figured maybe he got bit by a mosquito or something, and it got a nerve. However, after about half a minute, I realized instinctively that he was hungry. Now, he had just eaten a couple of hours before, and it's rare for him to be hungry again until morning. But, somehow, through his crying and just instinctively I knew that was the problem. My husband wasn't so sure, so I gave in and agree to try other things to try and calm him down. I allowed this for about 5 minutes and then just said that I was going to try feeding him. Sure enough. That was the problem. After feeding him, he fell right back asleep and slept soundly until morning.

Before you become a mom, your mom, grandmother, aunt, etc. tells you that you have the instincts to be a good mom. You just have to trust them. While you're pregnant, you don't really believe them. I know I didn't "feel" like a mom yet, and I was scared to death that I didn't inherit that mom gene. When I gave birth and for the first 4 weeks, I also didn't feel it. I was scared out of my mind. I didn't know what to do when he cried. I didn't know how I should calm him down. I started doubting myself. That was the key to unlocking my success. Once I started say to myself not to be afraid of his crying, that was he trying to communicate with me, and that I know how to deal with what he's trying to say, things started settling down.

All of a sudden, I saw that I could calm him down when he was sad. I just had to listen to him. I could take care of him by myself when family wasn't around, and my husband was at work. It was a liberating feeling to be able to allow myself the confidence to listen to what my son had to say and be able to provide him with what he actually wanted. It feels like such a gift, but then again, what about me? What about my wants and needs? How do I fulfill myself and still be 100% invested as a mom? Do I have to constantly be sacrificing something? Or is there some sort of balance out there somewhere?

From all you moms out there, I would really like to know what you have to say on the matter.

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