Somewhere along the line I knew I was never the type to balance work and home. I knew I wanted to be Domestic Diva, princess and Queen concubine to my King first. Alpha Mother to my children second. I swore I would not have children if I had to work while they were small. My idea was that any work I did would be to provide the luxury of private schools, European vacations, theatre tickets, too many books, and designer jeans. I had and still have no problem with the picture. I am attractive, educated, reasonably literate, and remain convinced that the greatest good I could do was rear these children to be kind, responsible adults. I remain devastated at my failed marriage. Divorce will always be something I do not understand. A thing that happens to people who do not try hard enough to prevent it from happening.
So I am happy that my oldest child has taken on the responsibility of a marriage. I am sad that I may see very little of him now that he is married. And not surprised since I never got to be that stay at home room mother mom I always imagined I would be. Very quickly I became a working mother, and I did not balance it well. I controlled what little I could, attempting to give them financial security along with the meals I sat them down to at night. I carried with me the notion that by cooking for them every night, I could protect them all from drug addiction, alcoholism, peer pressure, and early sexual experimentation including and not limited to early pregnancy. I relied upon my mother and their father to provide the fun in their lives while I worked. For over twenty years I was stuck at the bottom rung of Maslow's hierchy. You know the one. I was trying to survive in order to keep them alive. I was the circus tiger who threw her body over her cubs to save them from a wall of flames as the Big Top burned around them.
It comes as no surprise that my children do not see me as a person who will play with them. This makes me cry. They were so little when I had to take on the responsibility of almost everything that they do not remember that I ran around trying to teach them to kick a soccer ball, that I took them swimming in the summer, made sand castles, drew pictures, read stories over and over several times a day and always at night. They do not remember that I stroked their faces until they fell asleep and held them upright to sleep in my arms whenever they had a cold so that they could breathe better. I did these things because I wanted to do them. I put them on the planet. I was not permitted to be Domestic Goddess to their father, but nothing could prevent me from being their mother. I am glad I was able to do for them when I was able. I know that even though they do not remember what I did when they were infants and small children, doing these things gave them security they might not otherwise have. It makes them able to take on the responsibility of loving another human being. This is a great gift I think. I meet people very often who seem not to be able to take on the responsibility of love.
My parents and our community sacrificed for us when we were children. I believe this is what made it possible for me to do whatever I was able to do for my children without ever considering it to be a sacrifice. I considered it a privilege to have the opportunity to put people like myself on the planet. But I want them to be balanced. I never want them to think that as parents and partners, they should have played more and worried less.