My daughter asked the other day if I thought that being a mom was a big sacrifice because you have to do everything for your kid. I said I didn’t because I never felt “selfless” and didn’t considered having a child to be the ultimate accomplishment of my life.
She was a bit insulted by that information.
My daughter (along with my husband) is one of the most important and interesting parts of my life. But she is not my whole life. Nor am I hers.
I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of my identity being tied to being a Mom. Not because I have anything against my child or actual parenting, but because the tradition of dismissing other relevant information about a woman once her mother status is revealed is disturbing.
Membership in the Mom Club is automatic and accompanied by a million rules. It seems to be a Club full of clichés, assumptions and ideals designed to highlight my inadequacies. For instance, I am not a crafty Mom. I didn’t make my own baby food, knit things, or do kitchen science experiments.
Nor was I the fun Mom. I didn’t make blanket forts, pack the van full of kids for sledding or throw fabulous birthday parties. Ditto for Sports Mom and Classroom-Volunteer-Mom-that-all-the-teachers-adore. And I certainly didn’t qualify for Doing-whatever-it-takes-Mom, being lucky enough to enjoy a decent income and husband who co-parents.
I’m not sure what prompted my daughter’s question about the self-sacrifice involved in parenting. To my mind, it’s not a sacrifice if it’s what you want to be doing. Anything I gave up I chose to give up. We chose to have a child and I chose to work full-time rather than stay home. I hope every member of this club enjoys the same choices.
Good days, better days and all the tough ones in between add up to living your life as a parent. Although I am now fifteen years in, I may never reach advanced membership in the Mom Club.
And I wouldn’t change a thing.