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An Orphan on Mother's Day - Am I a Good Mother?
In The Beginning....
It was 1999 and I was pregnant with my firstborn. I embarked on Yoga classes with other "mommy's to be" and also made sure to eat healthy and quit caffeine completely. I was so excited but inside I had this sort of "panic" like many first time mom's do. My panic seemed to go a bit deeper then most because I had lost my mother to suicide when I was eight years old. I was conflicted and I thought of the many scenarios that I had created in my head as I grew older. I went back to those original questions that I had as a child. Why did she leave me? What was she thinking? Were my sister and I too much for her to handle? Ofcourse you can never get complete closure when a parent takes their own life. All you can do is make the best out of things, so I just went on living.
I was a very driven child and always did whatever I wanted to do. People who are close to me will tell you that I can pretty much do anything I set my mind too. In fact there are not many times in my life that I have ever questioned anything except for relationships that had gone badly. I suffered from post partum depression after my first child was born. It was brought on from the loss of my father ten days before the birth and having no family around at that time. My mothers mother and my dear grandmother had died the year before. I felt really alone and on top of that, my ex-husbands parents lived in the United Kingdom. I felt like an abandoned orphan with a child and I was terrified of losing him to crib death or something else that was mentioned in the media. All of those product recall articles really scared me!
When a person loses a parent at a young age, they grow up with abandonment issues. I never knew I had them until two marriages later and heated arguments continued with whoever pushed the wrong button. Five years in therapy in my late twenties and dealing with death, loss and family issues finally helped me get to a good place. The last thing I wanted to do was have children when I first went to my therapist. I was terrified of the whole idea, plain and simple. I knew that I had no formal training in motherhood and growing up with a fantastic older father did not help the matter. The main point was that I become an adult after my mother died and had to really do a lot of things on my own. I had many painful scenarios that still come to mind on this special Hallmark holiday for moms. Playing in a park with other kids who had their mom's sitting on the benches, other girls having their hair done with pretty ribbons and I will never forget Mother's Day arts and craft lessons at school. Those were the hardest times and I tried to make the best of it by making something for my dad instead or for my grandmother to ease the pain. My father did the best that he could, but I was seriously lacking the nurturing that can only come from a mother.
Am I A Good Mother?
So, here it goes....the BIG questions!! "Am I a good mother?" I have decided to create a sort of list to check myself on.
Question #1 - Are My Children A Priority?
My Answer: Absolutely. They are always considered before I make any other decisions. I have only rarely put myself first before them and when I do I make sure that they are comfortable in every way. Meaning, if they have any issues with any of the plans, I make sure all is ok with everyone before I go forward with my decision.
Question #2 - Am I A Good Mother With My Daughter?
My Answer: Most of the time I think I am a great mother to my daughter, but I do lack in a few things. I do realize now that growing up without a mother has made me incapable of doing some regular mom things that come natural to most. I do try my best, but sometimes lack the patience and empathy that a nurtured woman would have if she had been "mothered" as a child and young adult. Fortunately I have made it up in many ways and we are very close. I am blessed. The only downside is that I am a really strong woman and I am raising another strong woman. For twelve years old she can really carry her own in an argument! lol
Question #3 - Would I Do Anything Differently?
My Answer: I don't think any parent has a map, but I do know that I could have avoided a lot of stressful challenges around my children. Divorce is not easy, especially with children around. The only thing I would have done differently is tried to control the arguments and not let them happen around the house or the children. I had to learn not to spiral or lash out in an argument. Took me some years and now I am a master.
Question #4 - Am I A Good Listener?
My Answer: I am always trying to find ways to help my children in anyway I can. Listening is the number one thing that kids need. I have learned over the years to take the time to really listen to them. I am getting better at it as time goes by, but I did have to learn to sit still and listen closely.
Happy Mother's Day To You And Me
So here we are! We have all lived through our own life stories. I know that I have done the best that I can and Mother's Day is the day to be "OK" with that. Sure, there are some things that I wish I did better, but the bottom line is that my children are really loved. They feel it every day when I get up and make them breakfast or do all of those little extra things. I always make sure they know that they are #1 in my life and sometimes when things get tough, I tell them how hard it has been. If anything, they both know that I have raised them mostly on my own and because of me they are who they are. I was a single mother even when I was married and although I was frustrated that the kids were never a priority to my ex, I do know now that some people are just not capable of being good parents. The first thing a parent has to do is "grow up" before they can ever raise children. I grew up a long time ago when I saw my mother disappear forever. One of the results of that loss was that I see life without any rose colored lenses and I never take things or people for granted. Today I will say that I am a great mother because I try the best that I can and I show my love to my children every single day! So, I will celebrate that!