To The Mothers: Be A Woman Too
Lately I started a new series. Not the most mind-blowing one or even requiring any brain power to process, unlike my usual choices. However, for all that it would be classed as the film equivalent of chick-lit and hot as they get, I found some blatant truths in Sex/Life too.
I am still on the third episode and intrigued more by what the series tries to portray than the steamy scenes. The story follows Billie - a suburban mother of two who is married to a handsome kind of monogamous good and also rich guy that likely does not exist in real life. She loves her children like crazy and even the solidity of her husband Cooper. What she misses, though, is the world she’s left behind.
Billie writes a journal of her previous relationship with typical charming bad boy Brad, in a bid to process her thoughts of a past she misses but that seems to have happened to a totally different person. For all the love in the world she has right now, Billie still seems to be clinging to her journal as the last shreds of a self that she feels she has lost, the one that was her real self.
This entry is not a review of the movie, nor of the dynamics of her relationship with Brad and Cooper, even though I would love to dissect that narrative possibly if the series turns out to be a good one till the end.
Instead, I am here to journal myself, in a way. Billie’s words that she seems to have lost her old self had me flash back to a conversation I once had with my then best friend. My son was still a toddler, maybe even just a baby back then. When I confided in her I needed to find who I was and that I couldn’t be just ‘a mother’, I was taken aback by her reply. The usually self-assured self-loving person standing in front of me, rather than encourage me to be a person, instead told me that that’s what it amounts to - that once a baby comes along, there is nothing left but to accept that you are ‘a mother’ and cannot possibly be anything else.
It is a poor life to live, to be only a mother. My friend’s finality of words sounded like a ‘deal with it’ kind of thing as I was expected, by not just her but also the rest of the people around me, to give up anything and everything that would take any space or time in my life that was not related to parenthood. What she taught me that day, rather, was that she would never understand and that she was not going to be any help.
It took a lot of will-power to start the route to finding my old self again, the one I had buried slowly under layers of a relationship and housewife duties coupled with a demanding job and a slowly disappearing self esteem. The baby had simply been the proverbial cherry on top of a mountain of a cake with my real dreams stacked at the very bottom.
I started slowly, experimenting with a new hobby I could work on whilst my toddler napped, watching a series alone for the first time in my life, and later taking up a guest spot on an NBC website’s articles section. It would be my first formal writing job.
I also googled ‘How to be Happy’ and interestingly was led to Leo Babauta’s site rooting for Minimalism as a way of life. I downloaded one of his ebooks against a donation and read it in a weekend. From then on, as I slowly cleared my life of some of the inessential things that were cluttering up my life and home (though by no means could I consider the result Minimalistic back then), I started on the path to discovering always more of who I am.
My son is now eleven and I still can’t pretend to know exactly who I am. However, I have done my best to grow more every day, to make the best out of what life presents me with and to learn more about energy and how to use it to better my life. This website is likely the testimony to that.
I did not write all this to prove anything to anyone. It would be a sad thing to do anything for approval or to show off rather than to feel good in ourselves. However there still was the need to present this topic today. Not to brag about achievements or look down on those choosing to make of parenthood their one love-affair in life. But to tell those others who, like me, felt cornered by everyone’s assumptions that motherhood should take over their whole world, to never stop doing what feels instinctively right, and to work on themselves and what makes them happy. After all, children can feel a mother’s energy and love, for them as well as for life. So the best way to be the best mum is precisely to be that which you really are.