I recently had a conversation with a group of my Mom friends that was inspired by something written here. We were talking about parenthood in general. You must understand, we as a group can get quite vocal. I am pretty sure that none of us fall into the “introvert” category. So, when the topic of our views on motherhood came up, we all were excited to see where the conversation would go, yet somewhat anxious over, well, where the conversation would go. Like I said, we are not a shy group of women.
One of us threw out, “The best thing about being a mother…?”
“Those sleepy-time hugs followed by ‘I love you’ in a soft, childish voice.”
“Oh, no, it’s the unconditional love they give you. The fact that you are their hero. Great for that ego.”
(There were a few giggles at that one.)
“How about those handmade cards that come straight from the heart. You know, the ones where you have to guess if it is a dog and girl or a horse and prince? And the message is so honest it just goes straight to your heart.”
Another mom offered, “It’s got to be those warm feet on my legs when we are snuggled under the covers.”
We had quite a good time offering up our favorites when it came to motherhood.
What is the best part of being a parent? Who was right? Well, we all were, of course.
Then (because it is just how we are), someone tossed out there, “Okay, so what is the hardest part of being a parent?”
“No, never eating a hot meal with your family until the youngest is at least 8.”
“I got it! The never ending worry.”
Another of us offered, “No days off.”
We laughed. Well, all of us but one.
“I think you are terrible to say those things. How can you hate being a parent?”
None of us were sure what to say. Again, I was surprised at this response. We all sort of squirmed and looked at each other.
“We’re not saying we hate it. We are just laughing over what makes it hard. You must know we have no regrets over being moms. Don’t you?”
It seemed like we had hit quite a nerve for her. She just shook her head at us. To her, for us to say anything negative about parenting must mean we hated it and wished we didn’t have to do it. To us, we were letting off steam laughing over the very things that define parenthood.
It seemed to be a stand-off. She couldn’t see our side and thought we were terrible to complain. We couldn’t see her side and didn’t understand why it wasn’t okay to admit that it can be hard. At first, we wanted to defend ourselves. Then we looked at each other and realized that we had nothing to defend. She felt she had to explain why it was wrong to say those things. Then she looked at us and realized she didn’t have to explain herself.
Which viewpoint makes the better parent? I ask you again, who was right? We all were, of course. See, that is the beauty of parenthood. We all see it differently. We all get through it differently. My greatest moment could be something that goes unnoticed to you. Your hardest moment may be something I cope with easily.
I suppose the point of sharing that with you is to say that we have different ways of viewing parenthood. Some of us have no problem getting real about the things that we find hard. The things that make us crazy and yet bind us to other moms in a unique way. Some of us see only the positive. The things that are easy and hard as all being good and positive for us.
Who is right?
We both are.