October 30, 2009

Good Mothers

Since the requests for posts from SOAR are coming in, along with requests for any posts at all, since I was quiet for an uncharacteristically long time, I'm just going to bite the bullet and tell you all. 

I'm not at SOAR.  I'm home.  I came home on Wednesday, and I don't really know what to say about being here and not there, except that I felt that my family needed me, and I wasn't sure what to do, and in the end, I decided that there were worse things than being home when someone didn't need you, but little worse than being away when I should have been home, and I thought I could live with the former, but not the latter, and three planes and 18 hours later I was home.

This I thought, was a very mature and grown up thing to do.  I saved all year for SOAR, it's the first time I signed up for the whole week, I got all the classes I wanted and I even gave up going to other stuff  like Rhinebeck so that I could afford it.  My friends are all there, including some I only see at SOAR, and we've been talking about it for months and months - and I wouldn't be honest if I didn't tell you that I was really, really bummed about leaving. 

I know that as good mothers we aren't ever supposed to resent sacrifices for our children. I know this because in the few days since I came home and have expressed disappointment in missing SOAR, I've been getting the standard message quietly from part of the world around me, and loudly from the Mother Police that live in my head.   (If you are a mother I'm sure you have your own Mother Police. They never take a day off and have unreasonably high standards.)

The Mother Police say good mothers don't mind when somebody throws up and they miss dinner with a friend who only comes to town once a year, so that they can do 6 loads of pukey laundry instead.  Good mothers don't mind when a babysitter cancels and everyone goes to the party without them.   Good mothers are selfless. Good mothers put themselves last, good mothers never mind when they miss a good time as long as they are there for their kids.  I got the good mother memo.  I know how I am supposed to feel.  I'm supposed to need to walk away from a trip I've been looking forward to for a year, and I'm supposed to say that it's perfectly alright and I don't mind even a little bit, and that my family is so important to me that the things that I want for myself don't matter at all.  They need me and I'm here.  Good mothers don't talk about what they want or what they feel. 

Well, maybe it makes me a bad mother, but I'm calling bulls**t on the Mother Police.  Screw it.  I wish I was at SOAR with my friends.  There. I've said it.  I think the fact that I'm not supposed to care about the things that make me happy is stupid.  I think that treating women like nothing matters as long as their families are happy is stupid, and that teaching them to put themselves last and not bitch about it is a big chunk of what's wrong in the world.   I'm part of my family, and so are you, and the things that I need or want matter too.

I am here.  I did come, I did walk away because I was needed,  I am doing what I need to do, and I would do it again, because I do put my family before myself.

The good mother memo says that all of that means that I shouldn't feel bad about SOAR- and that a good mother wouldn't talk about feeling badly about missing it.   I respectfully suggest that's pretty stupid.  I think the fact that I really wish I was there, that I really wanted to stay, that I've been honest about my disappointment and sadness about leaving and that I came home and did what I had to do anyway?  I feel like the Mother Police should give me extra points, because  instead of that sadness making my family feel like I love them less...
I bet that them knowing that I put them ahead of all those things I really, really wanted for myself means that they can see just how much they matter to me.
 

Posted by Stephanie at October 30, 2009 11:55 AM