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Musings on The Mother Woman

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As I took a picture of my iced cortado perched on the edge of my workstation at Narrative coffee, I thought someday I will write about how I like my work days more than I like my stay-at-home-mom-days.

And then I opened up a word doc and started to write.

Side note: Laz, if you are somehow reading this in the future, I want to preface everything by saying that I love you with my whole being and heart. I love you like I love my own limbs. I would die for you.

My therapist asked, “What is your number one priority in life?”

“This feels shitty to say,” I said, fearing hearing the words aloud, “But my own happiness and freedom.”

She could have said, then why did you become a mother? But instead she said, can’t take care of anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself.

Which is a cliché that has lost a bit of meaning in motherhood. Because being a mother (for me) demands attention on things outside of me. Yet, I protest it. My mind protests it. Even as I play with Laz, I think of work. Even as I feed him, I distract myself with ideas of how to grow my business. Even as we run wild at the park, I wonder what equipment I should buy to up my game. Because thinking of work brings me so much steady contentment, and my child brings me moments of intense elation and moments of intense distress.

Identity Mother, Motherhood, are words that have been repeated so many times, they’ve lost their meaning. They’re ways for others to label you, your station in life, your experience.

I am a mother.

I am enduring Motherhood.

But, like all identities, the explanation of effects is much more complex and undefinable.

In college, a friend and I reconnected with our English teacher from high school. She talked about The Mother Woman, a type of person in women’s groups at church who wanted to talk about all things Motherhood. Which, to her, meant breast feeding and diapers and raising kids and all things related to their identity as a Mother.

She craved discussions about books, not her kids. She wanted to talk ideas rather than nipple guards. I got it, vaguely, in the way I understood craving. Now, I get it.

I hate being called “mama” yet I call myself “mama” because that’s what Laz calls me. I shy away from anything labeled as a “mom group” because I don’t want to talk Motherhood and yet I find myself retching words of motherhood anyway.

It’s hard to talk about challenges when you’re in them. I’d rather have a neat way to tie this up for you, to say now I love it or now I’ve figured it out or now I’ve accepted this part of my life or even, now I know that being a working mom is more my vibe.

The truth is scarier. I have no resolution for you. I have no end. I have—

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