Thursday, July 10, 2008

The woman behind the mask..

As I settle into my new routine of domestic bliss as a SAHM I start to wonder who I will be in 20 years. How will my children see me? Will they see me as a boring coupon clipping, bread making, plain old housewife? Will they think that I couldn't possibly ever had a life outside of cooking, cleaning and picking up dirty socks?Will they take my advice because they respect where I am coming from? Has there always been a June Cleaver poking out from under the exterior cool facade waiting to be set free?

I like to think I will be the cool mom. The house that all the kids come over to hang out at. Be the mom that has an open relationship with my kids that they will be able to talk freely with me without the fear of judgement. That they will see that I am protective not closeminded.

How do you balance openness with your kids versus TMI? Will they throw my past sins in my face like my sister did to my parents? Who am I to judge them when I used drugs and alcohol as a crutch to survive high school and college? That I couldn't make it into class without getting stoned in the parking lot first? Will they understand that I warn them out of experience and love and not out of being a hypocrite? Will they look at me and say you did all this and turned out fine without seeing the scars hiding under the apron?

Will they know that I screamed at my parent's that I hated them? That I ran away from home after saying words so mean and hateful that they still echo in my ears 12 years later? That I was a teenager and yes, I know EXACTLY what they are going through. Will they be impressed that I turned my life around and that I finished college early? That I studied abroad? That I worked with rape victims for 4 years rushing to hospitals in the middle of the night? That I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up either. That I still don't?

It is a fine line to walk. You can stay mum and let them see you as nothing more than Mom or you can spill all and let the chips fall where they may. My older sister suffers from overknowledge, the sins of the parent's visited upon the child. I suffer from the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil syndrome refusing to think of the past and wanting to know as little as possible. We fight our demons in our own way. I see my Mom as Mom, the boring old housewife. My sister sees her as part sellout, part hypocrite. Maybe we were both right and yet both so wrong. Either way, who do you think is the first person we call when it all goes to hell in a handbasket?


Haley said...

Well said. Hopefully your children will see you for the awesome person that you are! :-)

She Likes Purple said...

Very well said.

I think you have to know that no matter what path you choose---oversharing or keeping mum---that your kids are going to make some colossal mistakes. The same ones we made. Hindsight is what it is and I wish I could go back and make far fewer mistakes and experience far fewer heartbreaks and I even regret a thing or two (or 85) but it's my road, my path, my journey, and the one thing I'll never do is try to pretend it's not.

My mother was loving but she turned her back to a lot of what I did out of the need to protect herself from the pain. And I understand that. I was doing a lot wrong. But that's one thing I won't do. Tell me you got high, you failed out of Chemistry, you lost your virginity far too young, just don't ever forget that I'm looking AT you and I'm walking beside you. You may keep me at arm's length when you're royally screwing up, but I'm right here all the same.

And the fact that you're even thinking of this makes you a beautiful mother, you should know.

Stephanie said...

Great thinking! But I don't think it's a fine line. I think you should always be brutally honest about your mistakes and how they made you feel. My motto is always thinking long term. You raise your kids NOW how you want them to be at 20. Don't like whininess? Nip it. Don't want them to be sensitive? Nip it. If you allow behaviors now such as rebelliousness, regardless of what others think, it doesn't go away with time. It will continue into the teenage years. Your best course of action is to be open, honest and make sure your little one knows that you should never behave that way to cover up problems.

My mother recently told me about all of her adventures after she divorced my father. Waking up with men she didn't remember. Drinking. Drugs. She had preached to me and preached to me about how wrong those things were. To this day I've never touched drugs and had only a few sips of alcohol in college. I don't regret that I didn't try those things but boy, I looked at her like a huge hypocrite. If I had known those things in high school, things would have been MUCH different.

Hubby's mother is the exact opposite of my mother. Always talking to them, telling them about how they should behave, what's right, etc. All FOUR of her kids are the picture of perfection, dedicated, people that I wish I could be more like. My MIL drank, did drugs, got pregnant out of wedlock (who she's about to celebrate 30 years with in Oct!), and while I'm the one who convinced hubby to sleep with me before marriage, he probably wouldn't have if I hadn't been so persistent.

In essence, YOU control it all. And you can do it and do it right. Just follow your gut, even if your brain tells you it's wrong. Sometimes what's best isn't what's easiest.

Swistle said...

My mom worked, and I still saw her as a boring old fuddy-duddy/housewife type---when I bothered to see her as anything other than My Mom (I really didn't pay much attention to what she was Really Like as a Person). I think in general, people see OTHER PEOPLE'S parents as the cool ones. Probably your kids' friends will think you are TEH AWESOME.

stacey said...

let me know when that line widens; fine lines make me nervous!

you will be fab.u.lous!

special thoughts for another!

Marmarbug said...

Very well said. I think that as an adult we need to not tell kids certain things we did. Only becasue knowing how I was as a teen they will just use it against us and throw it right back inour face. So that's my input.