Monday, December 18

Motherhood: Internal Struggles

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COPYRIGHT © 2011 Cherie Kuranko ~ “InkSpot”

All Rights Reserved.

When a woman decides to become a mother for the first time she is bubbly, excited and full of expectations formed from unrealistic ideas, false information and hidden truths. What mother admits they regret having sacrificed their career, their freedom and their entire identity. Not many. Why?

Our society dictates what a good and bad mother is. Sure, we know bad mothers abuse or neglect their children, but what does it take to be considered a good mother? The soccer mom? The mom who helps out daily in the Kindergarten class? Mothers can become so absorbed in their children’s lives they forget who they are. They push aside their own needs to run a home and keep the family happy and healthy. Society says this is a good mother. But is it?

Stay at home mothers do love their children and they do enjoy spending time with their children, but they become lost and depressed. They turn inward and hide their sadness and depression. They do what they have to do and try to tuck away their own desires. No time. No money. It costs more to hire a sitter so you can work than you make at a job. The reasons are long and they create strong internal struggles in women.

It is a very lonesome, long slippery slope and when the children are finally ready to fly the coop–these women have no idea what to do. Suddenly their days are free once again, but they have no friends to share time with. They feel they are too old to go back to college or to try and establish a satisfying career. And somewhere deep down, the words “Who am I?” send them on a roller coaster ride to hell. To become the super-mom society expects these women have given the ultimate sacrifice–themselves. Their very hearts and souls.

Everything these women have become revolves around who they were to someone else. To their children, to their husbands, family, friends, schools, sports teams and other charitable groups. It normally takes at least 18 years to raise a child before they take flight and during this time stay at home moms have given their children all they need to succeed. But they failed to give themselves what they need for a happy, fulfilling life during child rearing and for their own future.

On the other hand, career women feel guilty and often encounter snide little remarks about their choice to work. They struggle to keep up with the soccer moms who make them feel inadequate. They can’t attend every field trip and concert and are left with feelings of guilt. They feel rushed, exhausted and don’t make time for friendships because they feel an overwhelming need to rush home to spend time with their family. This can lead to a sad, lonely life. It’s often a mix of emotions–torn between obligations at work and home. 

Stay at home mothers often dream of having an outlet to interact with other adults, but yet they indulge in the gossip and picking apart of working women. It seems like a no-win situation no matter which direction a woman chooses. Women need to create a life that meets their own expectations of what a happy family, home and personal life is.

To do so, women need to establish a healthy balance in their lives. A balance that includes their own desires and aspirations. A mother cannot be a good mother if she doesn’t include herself in that balance. If you aren’t truly happy, how can you have a happy home? How can you get up every day and not feel like a broken record spinning round and round if you don’t make changes?  Take some time to do some soul searching and discover your interests. Take action.

Taking action is the most important aspect of the process to a happier life. You can seek and desire all day long, but nothing will change if you don’t take some sort of action. Get a job if you want a job–even if it cost a little more than you make. We are talking about something you want and need to feel better about yourself. Just do it.

Make time for friends. Friendships are a gold mine for women–both working and stay at home mothers. Career women don’t make time for friendships because they have so little time to spare and stay at home mothers usually have little money for sitters or take their children with them. This isn’t alone time. Get away from your children once in a while and enjoy a 2-hour lunch without interuptions. Don’t come straight home from work once or twice a month.

Discover new interests that you enjoy. Field trips are fun times with your children, but you need to find something you enjoy and make it your own. Pottery, dance, working out, writing, reading, a bubble bath, hiking–just do it. Look into evening classes at your local college. You will meet new friends, learn something new and perhaps fall into something that you love. Spending time away makes your heart sing and reminds you that you are more than a mother, wife or working woman.

You ARE somebody. You do have talents beyond working, cooking, cleaning and raising children. Finding your own niche and pleasure activities are the things in life that help form your identity. You will quickly discover that the happy-go-lucky, bubbly person you were before having children is still there–just allow that person to be a part of your daily life. Get creative with your time and make time for you.

Women, whether working or staying home, all need to be more understanding and supportive of each other, regardless of our choices. Reach out to each other and share your experiences openly and honestly. We have a great deal to learn from each other. Together we can bond and become strong, independent souls living life to the fullest. Don’t wait until your children are grown to show them your true spirit. 

COPYRIGHT © 2011 Cherie Kuranko ~ “InkSpot”

All Rights Reserved.

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