Monday, February 2, 2009

A Defining Motherhood

I am the publicist of a group called Mothers of Preschoolers, it's a place for women to come together to talk, relate, and gain new parenting insight, and techniques for their young and growing family. I wanted to include this article on my blog because I have heard SO many mother's recently talk about how hard it is to reach out for with that said, here is my recent 'drama' of needing help and yet not knowing how to ask for it..
“You’re one centimeter dilated and fifty percent effaced, it wouldn’t surprise me if I see you in the hospital over the next couple of days.”, my doctor stated as she finished her exam. I was excited because any day now I would be meeting my little girl. Little did I realize that Tori would take her sweet time after two inductions and being over a week late! The thought of bringing her home was exciting and overwhelming as hormones and emotions swelled within me. What am I going to do with the other kids? Who’s going to watch them? Who could I ask? After all, Im supposed to have it together by now, I’m supposed to have it all planned. I had been living in Kearney for over eight years and three of those years was living in our new house. I hadn’t made any good friends yet and I had yet to get to know my neighbors thanks to a 'physcotic nipple natzi' of a woman who lived next door (She had breastfed her daughter until she was 4 and told me neglectful I was when I stopped nursing my son at 8 months due to him wanting to bite). She invaded my house the day we moved in and told me to stories about the neighbors, none of which I found out were true…only after several inquiries and backgrounds checks…But I didn’t find that out until after this wonderful woman had moved…
I then thought of the women from my church and wondered who I could ask for help. Help. Such a simple…but loaded word. It implies that we as women don’t have it together, all the time. It implies that I am not WONDER WOMAN…who men fear and other women look at with awe and respect and wish to be like her…It also implied that I am a human being in need of relying on others to function. Which I learned later, is how God created us. It was a defining moment for me because in the 9 years of being a mother, I had never reached out for help.
How did I get to this point? My back was against the wall. I didn’t know who to turn to, nor was I ready to take the mask off of being independent…How did women and motherhood get to this point anyway? What happened to that, “It takes a village to raise a child”? When had women become so independent that we had to act like we have it all together, all the time? How many times have we beat ourselves senseless after watching a women in size 4 jeans and perfect hair sail her way down the Wal-Mart isle with her three lovely well mannered children, stopping to browse for the item she needed before checking it off her list? If we only watched long enough for her to walk around the corner to see her exhale as her jiggly tummy threatens to pop the button off her jeans; and only then does mass chaos ensue as the children continue their fight for her attention, as she threatens to take away their beloved T.V. one last time…None of us have it together! Listen up ladies! We were created as relational creatures to care and nurture, not just our children but each other! We were created to relate to one another not compete…Now that being said, I blame this “WONDER WOMAN” stance on the bra-burning chicks of the 60’s.
Fortunately for me, I got to learn this lesson with the recent birth of my daughter. For the last 9 years as a mom, I had been burned by other women’s comments about my journey into motherhood as a young teenage mom. Most of the time, I was told that I would never be a good mother and how selfish it was for me to have kept my baby. With that said, I became determined to have it ‘together’. Little did I realize that I had built a wall and didn’t know how to ask for help. Going at it alone became the norm and that’s I saw from other women or so I thought.
Two women from my Sonrise Bible Study broke down those walls for me and changed my views of the word “help”. These women offered to take my children for me and gave me every phone number they could think of so I could reach them night or day. Then as they got to know my family, they provided clothes, blankets, meals (The best part was the meals!) and even a mattress for Tori. One of my neighbors even offered to bring my oldest daughter home from school for the rest of the school year (I think that this was truly my favorite ‘help’). So during the two different weekends that I spent at the hospital I was able to rest and focus on bringing forth my daughter into the world. Which was a good thing because I needed time to recover from the shock of giving birth to a toddler! Tori was over 10 pounds! During this time of rest and excitement the help of these women gave me a new sense of peace and opened up a whole new level of womanhood I had yet to embark on. For the first time as a mom I felt like I was a good mother because each person in my family were having their needs met and so were mine.
Reaching out to others or being vulnerable is hard. At times its like ripping off a band-aid. However, the benefits outweigh the risk. We make a friend, have a few moments or peace, or gain a new perspective. Best of all, we learn that we are not alone when one mother helps another. It can be as simple as a smile, or giving another that ‘look of understanding’ when she is attempting to deal with her explosive two year old. Perhaps that’s why groups like MOPS have become an anchor to mothers all over the country! It sure beats paying for therapy…

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