On being a mother.


A fall day on Lake Superior

I am a mother of boys. I love my boys. I love their rough, messy, every-day existence. They own their space. They are loud. Loud as in, break-the-sound-barrier loud. They hit and yell and fight hard and I have lost count of how many times in a single day I utter the phrase ‘keep your hands to yourself’. They love unconditionally. Their affection is simple, strong and consistent.

Growing up I never had those fairy tale dreams of meeting my prince charming, getting married and raising children. If it happened, it happened. But if it didn’t, I didn’t really care.

I think the idea of having children did, and still does, terrify me. In many ways, I didn’t want to bring a child into the world that felt so dangerous. What if I couldn’t keep them safe? What if I couldn’t provide them with things because I never learned it? And my biggest fear…..what if I couldn’t change all of the things that I knew were wrong when it came to raising children and history repeated itself? What then? What would I do? What would happen to them? To me?

Anyone who has children will probably agree that parenting is hard. Parenting, with little to no help from the other parent, while trying to weave your way through a past that constantly intrudes on your life, is overwhelming at times.  I suppose I am fortunate that I do have my mother, but that is stressful in the best of times, and sometimes just makes it all worse.

Most of the time I feel as though I am failing them. I don’t feel like a good mother. I am not good at expressing emotions and I fight the urge to move away when they are in my space for too long. I lose my patience easily some days and I feel as though I cannot take another moment of being with them. Discipline is hard. I am accused of being too easy on them and letting them get away with too much. It’s hard to find the middle-ground when you only want to avoid parenting the way you were parented.

I feel like I have no out; there is nobody to take over for me when I am feeling overwhelmed and it just leads to me feeling more overwhelmed. It’s a vicious cycle. I’ve locked myself in a room and cried and there have been times I have locked myself in a room and self-harmed because it felt as though I would implode if I didn’t do something about the knots that were forming on the inside.  I don’t feel good about it, but I justify it by telling myself at least I was hurting me and I was not harming them.

I love them, and I would die for them, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I only wish I would have dealt with my past before I had them. I think that would have made a world of difference.

2 thoughts on “On being a mother.

  1. I often wish I had dealt with my past before I had my daughter. I’m convinced though that she is part of the reason that I started this therapy journey. I know it’s hard to parent with a traumatic past, and it’s hard to feel like you are a good enough mom, but you are. And everything you are learning in therapy and the past you are healing from will help make you a better mom. That’s what makes you enough. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

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