Is there any role that we women might choose to take on in life that has more possibilities for experiencing great joys as being a mother? On the other hand, is there any role that is more fraught with the possibilities of self-doubt and self-recrimination?
Obviously, many women choose to be child-free, and believe me, I'm not implying that every woman thinks that the greatest joys in life come from being a mother, but for those of us who have chosen to be mothers, I think most would agree that some of the most euphoric moments in our lives have centred around our children in some way or another.
But as I mentioned there's that shadow side. That side that has us second-guessing our decisions, the side that has us looking back and wondering if we made the right choice on such and such an issue many years ago. And the scary truth is that we'll never know the answer to that.
Maybe not all mothers have this experience, but I know I do.
I always wanted to have children. Becoming a mother seemed as natural a choice to me as breathing. During pregnancy I was so excited, but at the same time so frightened, Who was I, I would think on occasion, to raise a child and prepare him or her for the world? How could I teach and shape little minds when I had so far to go as a human being myself?
Yet, the children came and I gave it my all, despite my worries. I did the best I knew how to do. And I raised some pretty awesome kids, who are now young adults. So for the most part, I guess I did okay.
I look back though and I see the mistakes I did make and some that I may have made. I always tried to do right by them, but how does one know if one has succeeded?
Sometimes we have to make hard choices, and we really have nothing to go on except our gut feelings. That has to be good enough.
I just wish that it always felt good enough. Logically, I know it's impossible to be a perfect parent, no matter how hard one tries. In many cases there is no clear-cut right answer to an issue, and we have to go on instinct alone. But is our instinct always right?
One thing I noticed when the children were growing up is how they would remember so clearly some seemingly random, relatively unimportant events, yet they had little memory of events that I would have thought were life-changing.
One never really knows what goes on in the mind of a child, what they hold on to, and what they let go of.
Most days, I feel as though I did a pretty good job as a mother.
Some days, I just can't stop thinking of all of the do-overs I wish I could have. Some nights I lay awake, filled with regret and anxiety over a choice that I made five, ten, fifteen, or even twenty years ago. There is no changing the past however. That much is certain.
I just hope that one day I get to the point where I really believe that having done my best and giving them all my love was truly good enough.
'Til tomorrow, my friends. Much love to all.