Finding the Woman Within the Mom

by Melanie Edwards on November 15, 2010 · 12 comments

in Motherhood, Women

woman

My mami is a great mother. She raised three children, along with my father, during a time when there wasn’t as much “help” as there is these days. That is, she never read a parenting book or sought the advice of parenting experts. I’m sure her and her friends shared complaints and some advice with each other, but this probably came in a very informal manner while they had their café y pan.

On top of the generation’s ideals, my mami also started being a mom at a very young age. She basically had to learn it all herself; being a wife, mom, and becoming a woman are all things she learned on the fly. In retrospect, I see now that she essentially lived her life for us. My two brothers and I were her life. Sure, she held some jobs at various points, but never was it a career. She had friends, but that I can remember, they never took the time to have what we now call a girl’s night out. She also didn’t have hobbies.

Fast forward 30 years later, and my mami is now “retired” – from being a mom and from working. Of course, moms are moms until the end. But, all three of her children are married, out of the house, and have children of their own. She provides an entirely different mami role these days. This is the time when she should be enjoying her free life, taking part in various activities, hobbies, and get-togethers. Right? However, because she spent the bulk of her life living for us, I’ve noticed she finds herself in a special place as a woman.

Two reasons, actually, contribute to my mother’s current situation: she’s the caretaker for my father who has dementia, and she didn’t allow herself to be anything but a mom when raising us. In defining herself only as a mom without paying attention to herself, as a woman first, she’s now in the position of not really knowing what to do with herself. Of course, this is my opinion from observing her, but I often see it reflected in her actions and conversations.

It’s a situation I hope never to find myself in. I think I’m on the right track so far. I work full-time, have my own business, travel, and try hard to balance my roles as a mom, wife, and woman. It’s not always easy, as many women will attest. But, after seeing my own mom’s struggles, I believe it’s important. I don’t want to have to depend on being needed by others (my children) in order to be happy. I plan to be happy with my life, my husband, and myself, regardless of where life takes my children.

Because of that, I am content in showing my daughter (and soon my son) that I have my own time where I may do things without her. She sees me working and knows why it’s important. She understands when I need to travel by myself and knows that it’s for work. As she’s said to me when leaving for a conference, “You’re going to go learn with your blogger friends.” Yes, baby girl. I am. And, then I’ll return home and continue to show you how great it is to be a woman with many interests and passions – all while still being a great mom, just like your abuela.

Do you find it difficult to define your role as a woman now that you’re a mom?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel White November 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Beautiful and true post.

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modernmami November 16, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Thanks, as always, Rachel! Glad you liked it.

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Lisa Perez November 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm

I love this post.. I can honestly say that I’m 50% of what my mom was when I was younger. My kids comes first but at the same time I do not believe a woman’s job is always at home like she was. I believe in contributing to the household and having a career. Thx for a great read ;)

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modernmami November 16, 2010 at 8:59 pm

So glad you enjoyed it Lisa! I think we all get traits from our mothers, it’s understandable. But, like you, I have things I want to change so that cycle doesn’t continue. :)

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Raul Colon November 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Ok. I probably can’t answer your question but I can say that I think my mom and dad pretty much shared the responsibility but did teach us that if something needed to be done they had to do it.

I look at all my peers and saw a different story more similar to yours. I remember how my dad when mom when to work took over the cooking and many tasks and when My dad went to work we ordered chinese food because mom did not do the same for him… LOL

I think we can look back at what are parents thought was right and we should pick and choose.

I really admire the time you take in writing and other things you do online. Keep up the good work!

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modernmami November 16, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Que cómico Raul! Bad mami. ;) LOL

I agree. We can chose what to keep as traditions and what we want to change.

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Anonymous November 16, 2010 at 12:38 am

Love the reflection and the honesty in this post. I am not “trying” to define my role, I just wouldn’t be complete without everything that makes me who I am. I believe the difference with my own mom is that I married much older and already had a semi-sense of my identity. Being a mother just completes, it does not delete everything I already was.

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modernmami November 16, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Gracias, Ana. It’s true that marrying older and already establishing yourself as a woman can make a difference.

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Monica November 16, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I love this post, Melanie! This is a story that is very common throughout the world. And I still see it today in my family and my church. It can sometimes make me sad, because I see some older women who just flounder once their children are grown, or if (heaven forbid) their husbands die or “wander off”. I know several older women (in my own family, as well as my friends’) who struggle with depression as a result. Or who constantly push their children to have children, too, so that they can slide into the role of grandmother.
My own grandmother battles depression now that she is older and her husband has passed away. She has no hobbies, no good friends to speak of, and no real interests outside of her ‘novelas’. I wish so badly that she had something that she enjoyed doing with her hands, heart and mind.
I have made a vow to myself never to be that way and work hard to maintain my interests. I hope that my children come to visit me when they are grown because they want to and not because I am bugging them to do so.

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modernmami November 16, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Love the insight Monica! You totally nailed it when you said that you hope
your children visit you because they want to, not because you need them to.

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blancastella November 22, 2010 at 12:50 am

My mother was the same raising 5 kids. I find now that I am at the tail end raising my 17 year old son, I’m becoming much closer to my mom as a friend and find myself sharing a lot of stories that were never shared. She and I both take great pleasure in this.
With 7 grandchildren she maintains a close relationship with all of them as well as my siblings.
I too am glad that I have my own aspirations now that my son is ready to fly the coup soon. My new babies are my projects and the timing is perfect so I can pursue my dreams…like a second birthing of sorts.
In a way, has been good for my mom to have 5 kids, but just like your mom, her greatest joy comes from doing things for her kids even though we are all independent and out of the house. If I did that with only 1, my son would probably feel smothered and I am making every effort so he can feel totally independent. but you know what? I hope that he is one of those sons that still calls me every day when he is away. (or at least text me):)

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modernmami November 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Great to hear from a mom that is about to “let go” so to speak. I can
imagine it’s hard, no doubt about it. And, yes, of course you want them to
call every day – or text! – but, it’s great that you recognize you need to
give him some space to be independent. Thanks Blanca!

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