Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Since Problem Child brough up the issue of parenting, I think I'll wade into the fray.
Recently, on a difficult morning when I was trying to leave for my monthly RWA meeting, I found myself in the firm clutches of my beautiful 5-year-old daughter. Her beseeching eyes begged me not to leave. "I don't want you to go," she said.
Mother guilt reared its ugly head. But luckily my husband was watching out for me. Taking my daughter into his lap, he looked her in the eyes and said, "She's going. Mommy is allowed to have a life outside of us."
Inside, I jumped up and down at my husband's words of support. I've worked hard to find a balance between nurturing my children and teaching them independence. After all, one day they'll grow up and leave. What' the point of making them completely dependent on me for everything?
Don't get me wrong. I grew up in a very traditional family. My mother was a stay at home mom, as I am though I recently started my own resume writing business. Our church encouraged conservative ideas, including non-working mothers, cloth diapers, and home schooling. As a teenager, I baby-sat for numerous women who didn't do anything except be mothers. No jobs, not even hobbies. I dont' condemn that mentality. I just learned early on that it wasn't for me.
Writing is a part of who I am, just as daydreaming was as a child and teenager. I couldn't stop even if I wanted to. My writing friends have become my support, a source of understanding and a dose of reality in this crazy business. Does having this dream make me less of a mother? I don't think so. In fact, I hope it is teaching my children something of value.
I hope my daughter learns that she has more value than just having babies, especially if she has infertility problems like I did. I hope she suffers less guilt when her interests fall outside the home. I hope she realizes she is capable of doing anything she sets her mind to. I hope my son learns to support his future wife's endeavors just as his father does mine. And that he, too, learns to reach for the stars. Anything is possible with hard work and love.
And I hope that one day, when I sell my first book and my second and third, that my family will join me in a group hug, then jump up and down in shared excitement. Because that's the kind of family I have.