14 05/06/2011 life Holidays

Some Mother’s Day Ambivalence

Le sigh.

There are times when I really, really love being a mum. Actually, it’s not that I ever not love being a mum… I just suppose it would be kind of awesome to have a wee break from it from time to time.
But that’s the thing about Motherhood – there are no days off on this watch.
I have a mother that I love and adore, and though we don’t live in the same city anymore, she’s always supportive, if not in a physical way. I’m glad to have come from a house where I could watch my mother be a lot of things – which included being a woman with a life of her own, that didn’t include her children or her husband at every single step. She wasn’t all-consumed by any sort of Picture of Motherhood or by some American TV standard, thank goodness. I suppose it helps that my mother wasn’t raised in North America… so, she wasn’t influenced the way we tend to be now. (I’m looking at YOU, Martha Stewart.)

Family Classics 009.jpg

I’m so glad my mother is a sane, sober person, who is educated, and not prone to hysterical behaviour. She is funny and can tell a story better than just about anyone. She was a no-nonsense kind of mother when we were growing up, but she learned to show her silly side more often as we got older.
And, she is beautiful. (I love this picture of my mother so much – doesn’t she look like a Supreme or something?)
When I consider all that the day requires in caring for kids from breakfast time to bedtime, I sometimes fear that one. more. day of this will surely make me lose my mind. This has nothing to do with how much I love my family – my love for them knows no bounds, of course – but holy balls, most work-weeks have a few days off to do something else, be somewhere else, and think of other things.
Motherhood is just not that kind of job.
And I only say “job” because it sometimes feels like more work than pleasure (though a lot of the time it feels just the opposite of that too!!) It’s a bit of salty with the sweet, I suppose. I’m not going to feel weird about admitting it.
Nor will I feel weird about admitting that what I would love more than anything else is to run away for a few days (or even more than a few) all by myself, or toss my family out of the house for a weekend so I can do whatever I want for a while, without hearing any whinging or crying, when I don’t have to do anything for anybody, wipe no dishes or noses or bums, and not answer the dreaded what’s for dinner? question. Silence can be golden, yo.
Mother’s Day just happens to fall at a time of year when I feel desperate to be somewhere else. (Well, now and sometime in October/November too… I’m not sure why – it’s just been this way for the past few years, I’ve noticed.)
So, we will celebrate together in ways that are typical and lovely. I will probably get to sleep a little longer than usual. I will spend some time on the phone with my mum. As a family, we might eat out a little bit. We will visit my poor mother-in-law who is still in hospital… we will bring yummy things to eat, and perhaps sneak in a bit of bubbly to drink. We will enjoy a splendid day together with the children.
And then it will be Monday. (Again.)
Really, I’m very pleased to be a mother, and I’m proud as hell of my little kids. They’re healthy and they’re growing well. And when I consider how much work it is, and how constant it is… well, I can’t say that if I really knew what it’s like that I would have chosen not to have children – I still would have. For certain. I love having a family. I love this job.
It’s just happens to be the hardest job I’ve even done in my life, and though the years are short, the days can feel so very, very long, and sometimes I just can’t tell if we’re all doing okay, and I’m worried that I’m ruining them in ways that I can’t see, and it’s overwhelming and crazy-in-da-head making, and I feel run down and tired, and I’m pretty sure I yell too much, and I need to remember to take a deep breath and find some more patience…
And I think of my mother who cannot observe me in a day-to-day fashion, but who I know wouldn’t let me live so far away from her if she thought I was a useless, feckless, crazy person who has no business having children. And I think of my mother-in-law who does get to observe me a little bit more often, and she tells over and over again how proud she is of me. This counts for a lot, since neither of these women hand out bunches of praise for no reason – they’re not ego-strokers like that. They just love me.
I appreciate hearing from these great dames before me that this IS a tough job. That one does want to tear one’s hair out from time to time. That there are times when you just don’t know how you’ll make it through another day. I don’t need gifts. I just need keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving… and accept the pats on the backs from the ladies who mean the most to me:
My mothers.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all my lady-friends everywhere, both real and imaginary virtual… I feel so lucky to have found a Village out here on the internets – props to you all!!  I hope you have opportunity to feel all spoiled and whatnot.
  • Alice

    Oh, this rings like it was written in my own head! It can be hard to put that out there, where it may be taken wrong, but I know exactly what you mean! There are days when I would give a few years of my life to just have a couple of days to myself to get some things done uninterrupted – and yet, I would miss them, and the house would feel a little empty, once I had done a bit of reveling and some list-ticking.
    They drive us nuts and make our hearts glow, all in the same half an hour, and it is draining and messy and wonderful and bittersweet and so much more. That’s what it’s made of, isn’t it?
    And lady? You look just like your mama – I see where you get those big, beautiful eyes!

  • Cayla

    I feel the same way as you in so many ways. Motherhood truly is the idea of seeing a rose through the thorns. Thank you for saying what a lot of us are too afraid to admit.

  • Idas

    How truthfully perfect and how beautifully real.
    You are a humbling beacon of clarity and perspective for the everywoman.
    Thanking you with a lighter heart
    Idas in Toronto

  • Racheal

    Honest and poignant as always. My husband used to give me the gift of taking the kids to grandma’s and leaving me at home alone. We haven’t been able to do that for a while, but boy did I cherish those weekends when I got a chance to unwind, recharge and just be myself.

  • Amanda

    Your mom was a foxy lady! Easy to see where you get your beautiful smile and eyes from. Yay for a hot gene pool! 🙂
    And thanks, as always, for keeping it real, Tracey. Wish we lived closer… 🙂

  • Erin Little

    Love. Love. Love. The post, the photo, you. I love your honesty, you’re no Pollyanna thank goodness! Yes crazy, yes fun, yes hard, yes, yes, yes.

  • Tracey

    And yes it DOES make us crazy, but in a punch-drunk love kind of way… I’ll take this brand of crazy any day. (As if I had a choice… hee!!)

  • Tracey

    I wanna dress that way every day too! *slips on satin gloves*
    Enjoy your stinky soaps, Village!!

  • Nancy

    oops forgot to say- everything you say is total truth
    it is all so INTENSE all the time
    but we love it
    and it makes us crazy

  • Nancy

    god I love spoiled and whatnot.
    youngest is going out tomorrow to buy “stinky soaps and candles” for me.
    Your mom is gorge! No surprise- I love that era! I want to dress this way every day!

  • Tracey

    It’s nice to have the chance to have a little get-away, if you can do it! No guilt about it, either. It is amazing – wonderful, sweet, joyful, lovely… and tough as nails sometimes. Hats off to you, single-mama… I don’t know how you do it. It can’t be easy at all, but I’m glad you have support from your amazing family! You rock, Sarah! Happy Mother’s Day!! xox

  • Sara

    I LOVE that picture! Fully Supreme. And I love this blog because it so speaks the truth. I had to escape this year for a week and I felt no guilt about it. I love the salty and sweet – it’s so true – an amazing amazing job but the hardest EVER. Happy Mother’s day – hug those freaking cute kids for me.

  • Tracey

    Oh Elizabeth, how nice!! Thank you so much for the kudos – I’ve been “watching” you for some time now, and man, am I ever glad to know you and have your support, sistah.
    That LTYM project is Full of Win! Please bring it to Canada… I’m all over this idea!!
    And I love you too, lady. Have an excellent weekend with all your men!!

  • http://clarity-chaos.com Elizabeth @claritychaos

    Happy Mother’s Day, Tracey! I love this honesty and truth. You should link it up to the LTYM blog today. This is exactly the authenticity — the non-sugar-coating — that LTYM is about.
    Love yah, lady. Happy Mother’s Day to you. xo

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