Friday, 19 August 2016

Motherhood - What I Would Not Be Doing

Excerpts from Mother, Writer, Monster, Maid by Rufi Thorpe:

"I am proud of being a mother. I love my two children. I love them so much that it hurts to look at them and I am pretty sure they are the best, smartest, scrappiest, funniest boys in the world, and having them changed my life. My life before children was selfish and bland, all feelings and no grit, just a drifting miasma of mood. To go back to living like that seems like hell."

"I have tried to say it to my husband; I have tried to say, 'I hate my life.' I have tried to say, 'I need help.' I have tried to explain why I am finding being a mother so difficult, but in the face of his questions, my explanations collapse. It isn’t exactly that spending time with the children is so horrible. I mean, sometimes it is, sometimes we have a bad day, but most of the time it is relatively pleasant: we go to the store, we go to the park, everyone is well behaved, the three-year-old says something cute, the baby does something new. The problem is not in what I am doing. The problem is in what I am not doing, which is writing every day, but which is also leading a life of the mind."

"I recognize the leveraging power of ineptitude. My husband can’t cook well; I do the cooking. My husband accidentally shrinks a few sweaters; I do the laundry. My husband can’t lactate; the baby comes to New York. In his inability to do things, he is excused from labor. In my rush to excel, to shine, to be a good wife and mother, I have done nothing but ensure my labor will be lengthy and unpaid."

"The conflict is between the selfishness of the artist and the selflessness of a mother."

"I am profoundly unfree."

For me, the haunting quote is: The problem is in what I am not doing.

I never thought I would be the type of person to have FOMO but I fear that having children wouldn't mean just be missing out on an event or two it would be missing out on who I could be. Sacrificing not just part of life but choosing to walk away from whole lives I could be living, other things I could be doing,


Sweeton said...

FoMo, I had never seen this term and on looking it up (thanks for the link Chris) I realize that it has certainly been something I have observed.

Meghan van Asseldonk said...

You will always miss out on some life you might have lived simply by the choice you make whether or not you choose to have children. They do however sometimes limit your choices but not always and not necessarily forever. I can very honestly say that while the life I have looks nothing like the life I thought I was going to have and was capable of making I don't wish for that other life.

Anonymous said...

Well said Meghan. I agree, you will miss out on the life you would have had with kids if you choose not to. The difference is you don't know what that life is like. I was struck by the comment, "to go back to living like that seems like hell". I also keep thinking about my uncle's unsolicited comment that having and raising kids was the best part of his life. I think no matter what you will experience a bit of FOMO but hopefully in the end it's all worth it as they say. The key is making time to do things for yourself that will help you have a bit of that life you had before kids. I say that now but I don't have kids yet so I'm really just speculating...hoping :)


Anonymous said...

I think regrets are born out of unmet expectations. (If you choose) go into motherhood with realistic and fair expectations for yourself, your kids and your partner. There's a pressure from society to have children... to follow the dominant narrative of falling in love, getting married and making little people. But society's expectations don't have to be your own. I've always admired your ability to make your own path in life Chris. Great post, thank you.

Love T

P.s. if you decide not to procreate, you can totally come satisfy your kid-fix at my house anytime :)

Aimee Sweeton said...

This was a very interesting read for me. I talked to Mike about it after I read it. You do miss out on some things. But nothing significant enough to make us question why we had kids. I look forward to reading more of your motherhood series.