Pam Laricchia's post, Are You Playing the Role of "Mother"? on her blog, living joyfully with unschooling, really speaks to me. It reminds me of my own transition to motherhood and telling my mom that I wanted my life back. It took a long time to sink in what she was trying to explain to me, that this was my life now! I also think of the first conversation with my husband about homeschooling, which he thought was a good idea. I told him I certainly did not want to do that, because, "When she's five I want my life back." Famous last words.
I embraced motherhood, attachment parenting, and homeschooling. But I get what Pam is saying, that there is a tendency for women to separate "the real me" from the mothering role. Parents and children need time away from each other, people will insist (and sending one's kids to school will do the trick!). Mothers need to take time for themselves, the experts proclaim. And we do need time alone, to write, to pray, to dance, to dream. I have also done all of those things in the presence of my child, and with my child, and while doing housework. A woman's brain is designed for multi-tasking and is literally enhanced by becoming a mother. We don't want to overload and burn out, of course. Still, I find that when I am alone in my home, I don't need that much time to myself. I miss my husband and daughter.
What learning about unschooling is teaching me is to engage the present moment, to unplug and just be me, also allowing other family members to be themselves. I am not playing a role; I am having real life relationships. Children are not young forever. The message I kept hearing from other moms when Beezy was a baby was, "They are little for such a short time." I felt the deep longing of these women for those days. Maybe they let them slip through their fingers like so much sand. Maybe they felt intense regret. I heard the wistfulness in their voices, and I never forgot. Remember today what you don't want to regret tomorrow. Our mothering is wrapped up in our whole selves. There is no separation, only wholeness. Being a full-time mother is not a case of not having a life of your own. If this isn't your own life, whose is it?