I've discovered that quite a few of the blogs I read regularly are written by writer moms...that's really cool, cause yeah, I'm a writer mom too and it's nice to connect with other writer moms around the world...ones that don't always feel the need to talk about the best deals at Costco or how their husbands don't help around the house or how tough it is to shuttle child A and B around to XYZetc lessons and events.
Oh sure, there are the wonderfully domestic moments Ver talks about, but its more a level of the defense of certain mothering rituals like cupcake baking while still being somewhat concerned about damaging her children for life. Sort of like Anne Lamont meets Betty Crocker...or something...
But then there's Rochita talking frankly about her own childhood and what she wants to give to her son echoed in the yearnings of Grace as she navigates being home again.
It's a strange thing being a writer mom, having that dual consciousness of mother and child, of trying to parent well, but realizing that much of one's parenting skills came from the very folk we often feel estranged from either physically or emotionally. For myself, it's difficult to find myself in a mental space I recognize as "tired parent" or "frustrated parent" and my mother's words spill out my mouth and I see the hurt, confused child I was in my own child's eyes.
As a mom who hasn't quite resolved her childhood, I've tried to give my gals what I think I lacked - a certain autonomy for instance - but that means dealing with all my imprinted fears. Recently our oldest, age 7+, went on her first two night campout with her Brownie troop. The camp was a two hour drive by car and then another hour by ferry. Given the frequency of said ferry, if I felt the need to retrieve my child, say for my own mental health, we were talking about a 5 hour trip there and a 5 hour trip back. In other words, I was pretty cut off from my oldest...my baby...my two month premature child...
Yes, there was panic...yes, I wanted to back down (she's only 7 for goshsakes!)...if it hadn't been for my lovely hubby who assured me that not only had he camped that young with his scouting troop, but had lead campouts with such youngin's, I'd have never gone through with it.
And chewed my nails for three days straight. What kept me sane was the memory of my mother wringing her hands in our kitchen when I approached her with the same idea when I was 7ish. The memory of my dad getting all my gear, and how all that stuff is still at my parents house having never touched the dirt. I can't blame my mother's panic, because I /felt/ it myself and then when I layer what I know of her experience 'camping' during the war, all I have is terrific compassion for her.
Whether I tell her I let her oldest grandchild out of my sight for more than a moment, let alone to a place I couldn't rescue her from very easily, is another thing altogether.
So I raise a toast to all the writer moms out there who are as amazed and confused as I am that 'they' allowed us to have children even before we'd understood our own childhoods, who realize they don't have to be 'fixed' or 'well' to properly parent, who have the strength to face their fears and /write about it/, who learn every day and every moment how to forgive their parents even as they forgive themselves. And for their children who really are the best teachers of parenting there are.