Blogger: Deborah Levine-Powell – “Soulful Wonder Chef”
I had a really hard time this month coming up with a blog topic. It was like I had writer’s block. I started to think why is it that I can’t come up with a topic that’s important to me or I care about. I realize that a lot of my identity revolves around being a mother. Do people really want to hear about this?
I want to put in a disclaimer right here:
- I’m not saying it’s a negative thing
- Yes, I love my children
- Yes, I know it goes really fast and I need to enjoy every minute
- No, I am not complaining
- Yes, I love all of the things that I do for my family
- No, I don’t need your advice
- Yes, I know I am fortunate
- No, I would not change it for anything
Phew…does that cover me from any backlash from the Stepford moms?????
I enjoy being a mom. It took a lot for me to have kids, after being told I could not have children. I had several miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. The next thing I knew, I was pregnant, and then again soon thereafter (my kids are fifteen months apart).
As Moms, if we’re truly honest with ourselves, we lose a lot of ourselves in the role (well, at least me).
I’ve asked myself, who am I outside of being the sports mom, the PTA mom, the Girl Scout mom, cheer mom, football mom, baseball mom, Pinterest queen etc.
When I get introduced, I’m Andre’s wife, Ethan and Madison‘s mom, the lady who cooks, she is my social worker, and somehow I lost my title as Debbie. I started to think who I am outside of being all these things.
So I had to go on a journey and figure out who I am? It does not discount that I love having those titles.
Recently a friend asked me to fill out one of those “my favorites list’s”. I couldn’t even answer what my favorite anything is anymore, because so much revolves around what everyone else wants and needs to get done, or what my kids like. We tend to as moms take a backseat because we want what’s best for our children.
I used to love taking a long ride to nowhere with my radio blasting and my sunroof open. I used to read two or three books a week because I love to read. I used to dress in the latest fashions and I got my hair done once a week.
My hubby recently asked why I don’t go get some new clothes and shoes. I looked at him like he was nuts. I said: “there was nothing wrong with what I have”. His response was: “go get yourself stuff, it’s not always about the kids. They have enough”.
I made a list (I absolutely love lists). Here are some things, we as moms, should do for ourselves:
- Take a long hot shower. Lock the door, because you will likely hear those noises we all think we hear
- Go by yourself and get a cup of coffee ☕or tea, and just sit. Don’t be embarrassed; embrace it.
- Go for a manicure
- Meet a friend and go for a walk
- Sit in your car, and text or call anyone you have lost touch with
- Hit the library and take out a book (just know the card file no longer exists)
- Sit on social media without feeling guilty
- Buy that outfit
- Eat that cookie
- See a movie by yourself
A friend texted me this morning (name withheld). She told me how her kids were fighting and not getting along. She felt so frustrated and upset. She went on to explain herself, and all the things she had done to make it better. She asked if she was awful or terrible for feeling so aggravated. I reassured her that puberty sucks ass, no, she is not a bad mother, and no, it is not awful. I supported her! I did not judge, give advice or say OMG! I listened and agreed it sucked but; this too shall pass.
Another friend, recently pregnant, told me about all the books she was getting on what to expect. I sat silent. She said, “it’s not like you to be so quiet “. I said: “you want my honest opinion, go return every single book. There is no amount of literature that can prepare you for being a parent. It’s the most gratifying experience, but there are a lot of bumps on that road”.
I think we spend so much time trying to make motherhood look perfect. No one ever talks about the emotional investment it takes to be a parent. We don’t talk about the fact that it is okay to feel like a fuck up, and that you are not doing it all right. We don’t want to admit that to ourselves, let alone anyone else.
You are raising humans.
There needs to be a book on what it is really like. A book that addresses the following:
- What happens when your kid isn’t invited to the party?
- What if they don’t make the team?
- What to do when they lose a game?
- How to handle the sex/period/puberty talk?
- How to handle failing grades?
- How to navigate girl drama? (It’s friggin worst- trust me, prepare yourself…they are little tyrants.)
- BE ready for carpooling, late nights; five hour baseball games
- Urgent care visits ( see sports injury)
- AND YOU CANNOT like anyone they don’t like, if you kid says “Joe Scmo is ___________”, you better agree
- The first time your kid comes home and says “so and so made me cry, called me a name etc.”. Your adult self is going to want to kick that little shit’s ass (of course you can’t.)
- Don’t be a judge-y mom – because until you face it, you don’t know what it is like
- DO not give unsolicited advice
The list can be endless and you get my point.
When you get pregnant, you start planning and getting excited, but you don’t think that far ahead and say to yourself I am going to have to deal with all these big issues. You register for all the cute baby stuff; plan the baby shower, tell all the moms you know that you are never going to let your kid watch tv, use an iPad, eat sugar, drink soda, not curse in front of your kids, etc.
There is nothing worse than someone telling you all the things they are never going to do as a parent. All I can do is laugh, because been there done that. Then reality kicks in, and you are begging for their favorite show to come on, so you can give them some sugar and go take a shower in peace.
As a psychotherapist, I am fortunate to have worked with teenagers for twenty years, taught sex education, and dealt with many of the pitfalls of adolescents. Yet, I feel like a failure at times when it comes to talking to my own kids.
I felt vulnerable writing this article. But, you know what a lot of people call me “Wonder Woman”, “you are such a great mom”, “I can’t do what you do”. I have hard days too, some days I cry, some days suck, some days I say you are royally fucking up being a mom, I yell, I make mistakes, I forget permission slips, lunches, practice, etc. No one is a perfect mom, we all are doing the best we can, with the resources we have.
I lost my mom at a young age, as I have discussed in a past blog. The loss is still so profound almost twenty-six years later. That loss has pushed me to be all that I can as a mom, and I don’t apologize for how I parent.
Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking. She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager. When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.