Coo-eee my blogging break is over and I’m back! Lincolnshire was lovely and I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that my husband isn’t having too shabby a time in Barbados.
I thought today would be an opportune moment to share with you a piece that (with slight variations) first appeared as a guest post as part of Motherhood: The Real Deal’s #beingamother project. It’s a wonderful project with so many different perspectives included, do take a look at all the contributions here.
But why today? Well this morning I got the first sight of my next child…the image was black and white and a bit grainy but good solid visual confirmation that the last two and a bit months of sickness and struggle have been associated with a baby and not some sort of plague.
I don’t know how different becoming a mother to another will feel but here are my reflections (via a meandering metaphor) of what becoming a mother and being a mother means to me now.
Becoming a Mother has changed the way society thinks of me, and based on my caring choices and ‘economic activity’ sometimes these thoughts feel unfavourable at best, dismissive at worst. It has changed my social labels; I am a ‘parent’, I am a ‘stay at home mother’…am I no longer entitled to be just ‘me’?
But who is ‘me’ now?
And what does becoming a mother/being a mother mean and what has it always meant to me? So I’m stepping away from the external – the societal roles, proclamations of identity, and social context – and I’m taking you within…
Imagine, if you will, ME. Don’t think of me as a person, oh no…think of me as a fantastical, sprawling, house. Built of stone, lots of chimney pots and, hmm yes, possibly some turrets. I think I’m getting carried away…but the outside isn’t actually important. Come in.
Inside you’ll find a maze of corridors, both expansive hallways and narrow landings. And doors. More doors than you can ever imagine. Lots are open. An infinite number are closed. And some just an outline, not there yet but waiting to be built.
32 years ago I opened the first door. Since then I have built, found and opened many, many more. Some doors open to rooms that are huge – they take over me when I’m in them. Some are small, just a little bit of me. Some are beautiful, some are ugly. Most rooms are happy, lots are comfortable but some are haphazard and one or two are so scary I do everything I can to avoid them.
Each one is an identity, a personality trait, an emotion, a part of me.
In the middle of the house is a door I’ve often wandered past. This door has always been there and I’ve always been happy to know it’s there.
Two and a half years ago I tried to open this door, I expected it to open easily, but it didn’t. Only after a few weeks of effort and anxiety it finally budged. And behind it was the most expansive and beautiful place I’ve ever been. The outside in…full of secret alcoves and hidden glades; old brick walls and majestic trees, tangled brambles and patches of wildflowers; puddles and sunshine.
Of course it didn’t always stay like this. In the beginning the beauty was hard to define, the skies would darken regularly and the brambles appeared menacing. I frequently searched but could not find the door to the rest of me.
And then, gradually, I didn’t want to find it. I made myself at home in this room.
And now? Well it’s still the biggest room in the house, the one I most want to be in…my favourite room…and the one that right now does define me the most.
I am, however, starting to remember and enjoy the view from the rest of the house again too. Old favourites are revisited, the furniture dusted down, and I’ve opened a few new doors along the way. Yet in all the other rooms the light and noise from Motherhood pervade. The door, now opened, will always be open. The essence of being a Mother spills out and the whole house sparkles with it.
I’ve decided to go with the flow and enter into the BiBs and MAD blog awards. It’s a lovely opportunity for people to show pride in their own blogs and adimiration for others they like. You can read my arguments for and against nominating my blog here.