Mothers, Be Wary of the Power You Portray

Mothers, Be Wary of the Power You Portray

Mothers, teach your daughters to share the load, not that they must be strong enough to carry it alone.

My mother, my mother did it all. Still does it now, even as she forgets how to cook certain dishes, even as she loses her grip on that hardness that made her so fearless, she manages to do it all. That was my role model and as I try to hold down one full-time job and two side ones that feed more than my children’s mouths and the mortgage, I feel I am a step closer to becoming her, but at what cost?

Apart from the jobs, the housework that I share with my husband, the taking the kids here or there, and the actual writing of verse that I achieve sometimes, I have started on a venture to lose weight…again. That is what I saw my mother do as a child, after all.

My husband told me to look at my plate. ‘Make sure you have room for everything else,’ he said.

Yes, my plate of duties is full, but is it full enough? My mum could handle more, my mum could mount the meat on that plate like there was no tomorrow and be done with it until lunch time, ready to chop down on more and more and….

Mothers, Be Wary of the Power You Portray

Crying in the shower, I remembered a time she had a meltdown in front of me. It only happened once, but once was enough. She is human after all—superhuman, but human none the less.

You may think I built her up to be more than what she was, what she is. Perhaps, but piercing the memories of my youth together may help to explain why.

And now to the father. Yes, fathers often get a bad wrap, and mine is not bad, just not really there as it were. So what does a mother of three do when her husband is more interested in getting fed, watching TV, and tending to his farm than his own children — on the surface, that is.. I guess? She takes on the world.

I remember my mum working during the day at the café they owned and going to work at the restaurant they had at night. I remember my sister or brother taking me to school — we have a big age gap—and I remember my brother buying me art supplies and my sister painting with me. I remember going to my parents’ bed sometimes when my mum was working late and my brother put on a movie that scared me. I remember my mum coming home late, I remember her at home at the desk looking over the accounting. I remember my dad at the staff table at our café eating while the rest of the family was behind the counter. I remember him asking me to change the channel on the TV — no remotes back then — as he lit his pipe and sat in his comfortable chair. I remember my mum cooking, picking out my clothes for the next day, preparing everything, but never really being there.

Let me interrupt that train of thought for a second because I don’t believe I will ever write something on Father’s Day so just a note here. My mum may be the superhero but that does not, in any way, mean my dad is the villain. He just happened to marry a force to be reckoned with, and it was probably easy to let the force rage then try to quiet it.

Mothers, Be Wary of the Power You Portray

I had a job once that I hated. I would throw up every morning. My mum told me to quit. She said it would ok, she would take care of me. But she would never have done such a thing as not work, so why should I? I stuck with it until I got a lucky break and became a journalist in a place where I fit in and didn’t throw up, well, only when I had morning sickness.

On my wedding day, she said she had always tried to give me everything I needed. She had always tried. She had put everything in place, just like when she used to wake up before me and get my clothes ready for me to wear or pack my lunch for school.

Funny, she chose that day to voice it. She might act a lot but those lovey dovey words, not so much. It was as if she was saying that now I would be taken care of by a man. As if she had prepared me for this, to be given from her to him. I thought we were supposed to take care of each other in a marriage.

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But here I am now, with a son and a daughter of my own. Here I am, fighting to put money in the bank, ready for my kids to take on any profession they want, ready to help them on their own wedding days, ready to take care of a house they will inherit one day. Here I am working nonstop while still trying to fulfill my next big dream. Here I am so deep in trying to be the woman my daughter will look up to and want to be like, that I sometimes forget I am not a superwoman. I don’t have to do it all alone, I am not alone, my husband is a force all on his own, and together we make one hell of a force to be reckoned with.

And while I try blindly to be a reflection of my own mother, so a glimmer of it may fall on my daughter, my son is the one who shakes me and shows me that children really do see what you do and take it to heart.

“Mum I had a really long dream last night,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I dreamt that you were on Facetime from sunrise until sundown.”

Mums, take care of yourselves, don’t take it all on by yourselves, and don’t get caught up in being a power that seems to take on the world in a blink of an eye. Your children will see and follow your example, and at the end of the long working day, they are your superpower.

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