I've often wondered what kind of a parent I am.
Am I the compassionate, doting mom who never raises a finger against her child?
Am I the kind of mom who feels like yelling at a kid who defies all boundaries of authority, no matter how mild the transgression?
Am I the 'super mom' (a term I personally detest) who flies about making sure that everything is perfectly in place right from the child's school supplies to her emotional needs?
Perhaps I am the mom who lets go, allows the child to make mistakes and watches as she ends up learning from them and growing up.
Or hey, maybe I'm that mom you see walking in the park, headphones plugged in, music blasting away as the kid plays on the swings and the monkey bars.
I've come to the realisation, nearly 10 years after I've donned this mantle of parenthood that I'm every mom. No, not everyone's mom, thank you. I have enough on my hands managing just one kid.
Depending on the situation, I morph from one mom to the next, flitting(not flying) between each role as the situation demands it. It's necessary that we don't confine ourselves to these narrow, bracketed definitions of what constitutes motherhood.
It's also made me wonder why I like to read and write about parenting. I don't call myself an expert , frankly because I don't think we can ever be an expert in parenting. What works for you will never work for me, not all the time, so why should the converse be even remotely true? (Aside: Don't stop reading my blog though!)
There is something though that binds all us parents together- a sense of overwhelming kinship. It's the feeling that we're not alone in this journey and that we're all doing okay. All of us.
I've had some of the most wonderful co-parents (calling them friends seems frankly inadequate) that it's incredible how much we've learnt from one another.
My 2 am friend:
This mom and I had our kids a week apart and back then, it was more than we could handle. We'd text one another at odd hours of the night, knowing that we'd each be up nursing, feeding, diapering or settling the baby to sleep and we wanted to ensure this was normal, this feeling of helplessness. In a strange way, that helped. We exchanged notes on everything from colic to insomnia, weight gain to milestones and assured one another that it was fine to be snappy and irritable. We even joked that we should write a handbook for new parents about how the first 3 months post baby are sheer torture with all the exhaustion. Hey, maybe we still will!
My all-time friend:
I can't really think of a label for this mom but our kids first met in the playground. However, their bond brought us moms together and it's one that I cherish! We've seen each other through really rough times. We dispelled one another's fears about insufficient weight gain for the kids, took them to the same doctor, spent hours at each other's homes while the kids tore the place up and when both our spouses traveled, we were there for each other, opening our homes and hearts. Gy would practically live in her home on occasion and cry pitifully if I took her away. How do you measure the heart of a mom like that one? I can't, so I won't try. Just grateful for her in my life.
My heart-to-heart friend:
We stumbled upon one another in the blogging world. From there we've gone on to forge one of the strongest friendships I've ever enjoyed in my lifetime. You know those cheesy romance movies where people complete each other's sentences? We do that with thoughts! I'm not kidding! I'll start saying something and she'll finish thinking it for me. Freaky! I know! At this stage of my life, where I'm handling the tween kid tantrums, the despair of battling it alone on most days and feeling overwhelmed by the kindness that a child her age is capable of, I find an empathetic soul in this friend.
Every once in a while I call up each of these friends. I tell them I've lost the plot and I don't know what I am doing in this entire parenting game and I'm not even sure if I'm screwing up my child's life with the rules I put in place. Each time, they hear me out with love, prop me up and tell me exactly what I need to hear:
You're doing just fine.
And the truth? Nobody knows anything more than you do. That's the only truth that matters. So, go on out there and find your moms-in-arms. We need an entire regiment to help us through this battle and they're the best ones to have in your corner.
*Footnote* The blog crossed 200,000 page views today. Thank you for reading and supporting me all along, dear friends, readers, fellow bloggers :)