So I’m reluctant to post this, since you might like to think of me as some kind of enlightened mother. Don’t you? (he, he!)
But I will, because I’m increasingly sharing my life with you, peeling open the can of worms inside, exposing the gaping wounds of my imperfections. I don’t know whether you’ve recoiled yet.
Anyway, what’s a little invasion of privacy between friends?
Little Yang knows no boundaries (you must be thinking that it’s my job to teach him, and I’m trying!). Anyway, he follows me into the bathroom (normal) and when I have to change a tampon he peers at me quizzically (and somewhat concerned). I realise that at least half the population are somewhat grossed out by this. I get that.
I wish I could lock Little Yang out of the bathroom without him crying and carrying-on, but it’s actually easier to explain to him that Mummy is OK, that sometimes Mummies have the bleeding because they are getting ready to have a baby (isn’t Miss Anne from Kindy having a baby – valiant attempt to steer the subject away from said tampon in a cute and cuddly direction, but Mummy is NOT having a baby! – PS and never will). At just-turned three, this explanation seems to suffice (reminder to be quicker to lock the bathroom next time). At nine, having been exposed to the whole tampon thing at a younger age, Miss Yin could care less. But regardless my privacy is regularly violated – without any thinking on behalf of my children. They, and particularly the three year old, seem to follow me wherever I go. There is precious little time and very little space to ever be alone. To just BE. So much so, that sometimes you almost forget who you are – I mean the you that you were (and still are) in private.
You’re at the centre of things, of life itself, when you are a mother to a young child (they outgrow this too quickly and you regret that you are then relegated to the periphery for the rest of your life, an outer galaxy to their shining star). And when you are their sun and their moon, it’s only natural that they want to bask in you rays. And if that means they never leave your shadow, then so be it. Privacy, sschmivacy.
But you sacrifice something else at the altar of the devotion, adoration of your child. Your sense of self – of individuality, of the person you were before you were a mother. Of the person you still are, when you are not playing your (most important) role.
I’ve been trying to ‘dissect’ motherhood in yinyang terms – good mother/bad mother (not exactly balanced yinyangmother). Calm (yin) mother, angry (yang) mother. But there is no neat division of the part played in life as a mother (no villain, no saint, no happy, no sad – certainly not absolutely). Motherhood is simply a mix of all things, a sort of muddy mocktail that sometimes you have to swallow with a grimace, but surprisingly tastes great much of the time (even better served as a cocktail).
I’ve been trying to divide the roles I play in life into yin and yang categories. But this is a zero sum equation too. As I posted earlier about disliking the multiple identities we assume in life, I find myself (my real private self) increasingly disenchanted with the sheer and absolute dominance of the most important role I play in life (ie mother). It is, frankly, an IMBALANCE.
It’s not that I’m downplaying the importance of the role, just how it exhausts all else, leaving so little energy for anything else. I guess this is the (guilty) plea of a person who is tired, sometimes bone tired, and don’t get me started about the women who somehow manage with five children, a contented spouse (who even gets regular sex), washing done, baking, and apparently some things even get ironed!
More than that, it is the shameful admission (lament) of an adoptive mother parenting ‘someone else’s children’, who regardless, isn’t completing satisfied in that mothering. Shock, horror, right?
But even more than that it is a plea for balance – balance between our private and public personas – the mother who cries, sometimes sobs uncontrollably (in private) and the mother who smiles bravely, always. The role that is most important and the roles that still add up to being important.
I want the kind of balance that dissolve barriers between private and public – between what you feel you should do and what you really want to do. Until in the end you are free to BE – the best you can. To BE the essence of who you already are and always will be. And for ME that includes BEING the best yinyangmother I can BE.
For you, that means BEING the best ‘whole’ person you can BE, whether mother or not. It means always understanding that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – that balance is always found in the equilibrium of energy between things, in YOU (and in YOUniversal love), rather than in some sort of equalisation of the different things that you are called to BE.
The lesson, in the end, is just to BE love.
PS – I realise I haven’t owned up to all the things I am in private – all the guilty secrets etc. I’m up for more sharing, if you are.