07 Jan Answers to Our Stories of Mothering

Who am I? I thought I knew, but then the interrogation of my confidence about who I am was questioned—was it the moment I found out I was pregnant or the moment I gave birth? Or neither?

What events and generic breaths brought me to this place? Most times I neglect or forget: who was I before children? A begging cry and agony, how is it possible for life to change instantaneously?

Can I just be a mother? Why do I only get labeled as a mother? Does that change me? Is this defining who I am? Has it only controlled the way I act and interact with little treasures and terrors? Or do other adults notice it in my behavior, see it in my eyes, or hear it in my speech? Why do some fear honoring motherhood?

I have and had so many questions, endless thoughts of how to raise a perfect child, don’t you? Even though nobody is perfect, doesn’t it drive you crazy, like it does me? Why are so many acts of parenting polarized? Why can’t love just answer them all? And more importantly, why can’t love satisfy us?

How many clichés of parenthood will I have to endure? Will the child habitually wake me up before the crack of dawn? Will my child fail and pick herself up again—as an adult and a child? Don’t we learn by example? Will I love my children more than they know? Will they drive me crazy? Would I hurt others for them? Will it only be terrible during the 2’s? If they grow like weeds, will they eat me out of house and home? When will time stop flying so we can just be and enjoy each other one day at a time?

Are the answers to these my choice? What control do I have? Is control the antithesis to parenthood?

As a mother, can I truly unlearn a privilege, release my ego, and share my fears with vulnerable, manipulable little beings? And do this is a positive, purposeful way? Am I patient enough for this? Do I have the energy and the right tools? Will they learn the lessons I intend? And what will they teach me?

When I question myself I often wonder if this is normal to obsess—a static thought in all parents minds—will my child be okay? Will she be safe? Will he be kind? Will they make smart choices and not forget to use their manners? Will they? Will they? WILL THEY? Why aren’t there answers, yet there are also too many? How many decisions do I have to muddle through? Is every parents’ brain scratched with a ‘what if’? Am I alone?

How quickly will they outgrow me? Will our bond, as it is now, persist? Will the perseverance and parenting choice pay off and rear successful children? Is it worth the stress of asking? Will my children love me?

I am frightened to ask many of these questions to others? What if they laugh? What if their answer is different? What if I am wrong? What if we are wrong? What if something is wrong with my child? What if my child one day asks me?

How is it possible to live with so many questions and still succeed? Or am I failing? Do my actions show doubt? Because I wonder if I am really as strong as I act? This inquiry results with: Am I trying my best? Am I parenting out of love? Am I being present? Am I teaching my beautiful people every day? Am I? I am?

I am the one who instills in my children how to be who they should be when nobody is watching. So, I will not stop questioning. Is that good enough as a mother?

Stefani is a mother, writer, and educator. She is trying to rear her children with the greatest sense of humor and an open mind. Her writing has been featured on Bonbon Break, The Good Mother Project, Three Line Poetry, Mommy, RN, Mock Mom, and TODAY Parenting.
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