One thing about Catholics is that social media can be a stream of engagements, weddings, and pregnancy announcements. It’s easy for time to feel like it’s hardly passing at all, as many couples have honeymoon babies and it all happens so soon. Even if there is no chance of joining that club any time soon, I have been thinking a lot about what kind of mother I want to be, and what kind of mother I feel I will be if I don’t change the course of the current. Perhaps it’s the same instinct that made me read so much about marriage, and a desire to give myself enough time to build healthy habits before I need to lead by example. Because the example I received was not the kind of mother I want to be.
I’m sure my mother loved me in her own way, and I know I am lucky compared to a lot of people who had it so much worse than me, but the trail of broken relationships between mother and daughter goes back generations and generations. Broken people who can’t help but hurt those around them with the shards of their own brokenness. I want to be an example of being a woman without all the self-consciousness that came for us. I don’t want to try to protect my daughter from the outside world while, at the same time, showing her the exact same messages through my own life. I don’t want her to feel she cannot ask me something because of the way she perceives me to be around a subject, because of the way that subject affects me. How can I teach my daughter that she is beautiful when I’m berating myself for what I see in the mirror?
I haven’t seen yet the new Little Women, but I have always loved Marmee. She was clearly a Jo growing up, and she was able to mature into a woman who could love and guide a bunch as diverse as her daughters, even when one of them must have been a bit of a favourite since she could clearly see herself in her (this is a metaphorical hill I’m willing to die on). And so I, also a bit of a Jo if I’m honest (although I would have married Laurie), know that I can grow into Marmee and want to do it. I just don’t really know where to start. I mentioned before a book about breaking with the past, so perhaps that’s where. Still, I wish my mother had an easier time being vulnerable and had taught me how to set a good example and relate to a daughter instead of how to put up barriers to protect myself and be self-reliant to the point it’s damaging.
Learning to see vulnerability as a strength has been a long and hard journey, but now I’m in my 30s, and I’m starting to think about people beyond me. I have met another high peak on that road. What if I accidentally go to the opposite end of the spectrum, and instead of raising a child that can both fend for herself and know when to let others in I just end up with a child who cannot deal with life on her own? I talk of a daughter because I hope that a son would look up to his father more than me, but, to be honest, the fear cuts both ways. How do I strike the correct balance when I haven’t really cracked that code for myself?
Perhaps I am just overthinking, and the right way to parent will come to me when I become a mother. I believe we receive the small-g graces that we need for our state in life, so I expect some things to get easier when I am in the situation. However, I don’t think it’s wrong to want to grow as a woman before the next stage in life, and so I want to cover my bases.
Today’s blog post has been part of the Love Blog Challenge 2020 on the subject “Vulnerability”. Find the rest of the series here
Meet your hosts:
Brita of BelleBrita
Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. On her blog and social media, you’ll discover more than authentic storytelling–she’s brutally honest about pursuing a fulfilling and joyful life even with Crohn’s Disease and depression.
Britta of Bright and Bold Life
Britta blogs over at the Bright And Bold Life about her journey as Jesus-follower, wife, church planter, environmentalist and maker. She recently moved from the UK to Berlin with her husband to be invovled with a new churchplant. Her recipe for a good day includes coffee, bookshops, nature walks and knitting needles.