Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
For some women, Motherhood is a dream come true. Keeping a home and caring for a family was all they ever wanted. For the rest of us, Motherhood is sacrifice. I have not been able to find a way around that fact.
But how much do we sacrifice?
Where is the line between a well rounded homemaker, a self centered egotist and a self sacrificing martyr?
The last few days I have been quietly treading water. Feeling that my life is being swallowed in a whirlpool that is sacrifice to others, while simultaneously feeling guilt for even having such a thought. There are people in this world, Mothers, Fathers and childless alike who do this daily without thought to themselves. I’m going to say it, I’m selfish. I want things for myself, not stuff, but moments.
When I was a teenager, I met my first kindred spirit. We spent our first few moments together singing the score to The King and I. Every moment after that we created the world we wanted to live in. We dressed the part, served the food and spoke the lingo. What I mean is, we wanted to live in another world and so we did. We were young girls of 14 and although to most this seemed odd, to us it was pure joy.
We acted out our favorite parts from Anne of Green Gables.
We easily drawled a Southern dialect while eating fried chicken and telling Rhett we didn’t give a damn.
We wore pastel toile and tiny floral prints when everyone else thought geometric shapes were the thing.
We spent way too much of our Father’s money at Victoria Secret back when it was pretty nightgowns and not bustiers.
We played the piano and sang almost constantly.
We set full tea services complete with silver, china and linen, while discussing the weather in our best English accent.
We argued over Arthurian legend.
We picnicked on Box Hill as often as the weather would allow.
We lived a romantic life, we created our world and did it quite easily.
That was the last time I remember fully being me.
Life became about school, work, boyfriends I should not have had, marriage and children. My love of a romantic living remained and dotted in that real life there were still enchanting moments. Once children arrived, they have been slowly disappearing. This morning as I sat watching my children eat breakfast I flipped through two of my favorite magazines, The English Home and Victoria, that’s when I began to feel the loss and regret that has been central to my doldrums. I realized my down in the dumps feeling was not about being a “bad Mom”, because thanks to many kind comments, I realized I’m not. It’s not about knowing how to be a “good parent”, that really is instinct when you love your children. It’s not about balancing the harmony of rules vs breaking the rules. For me it was about something entirely different.
I realized what was missing from my vision of a well rounded homemaking experience was the actual woman who makes the home.
I needed to be able to do it all, make a clean orderly home, create healthy home cooked meals, raise and educate thoughtful intelligent children, and still have the life I want for myself. A life of peonies, inspiration, scones with cream, a garden for beauty and food, lazy days to read Thomas Hardy, a comfortable, toddler friendly AND beautiful home.
The fact that I do not have these things is in direct correlation to MY CHOICES. There is no one else to look to.
Can a women really have everything she wants for herself and still meet her family’s needs?
Is it possible to not sacrifice, or at the very least know when to sacrifice so it doesn’t feel like martyrdom?
So this is the beginning of a new dream. A life where Mommy is not just a maid, cook, educator, nurse and laundress. She’s a whole being with wants and needs of her own that are every bit as important.
I think it’s worth a try, if for no other reason it’s a path I have yet to explore.
And you know what they say about the road not taken.