Sunday, May 13, 2018

meditations on motherhood (again)

days like this always toy with my relationship to society's determinations of what womanhood and motherhood means -- because we flaunt our gifts on social media, as if somehow proving ourselves to be good mothers through consumerism, and long to be away from our children.  or at least, i do.  but it's a rainy day, we are stuck inside with one sick child and the other one napping, it has been a morning of tantrums, screaming and fighting and I intended to go to the park anyway, because my sanity is at stake on a daily basis, but it was pouring too hard to make that a reality.

I woke up, made breakfast, did dishes like I do every weekend morning.  my husband had made me a lovely brunch, there is a beautiful bouquet of white roses and bright violet plumes that I don't recognize, so I am still quite privileged here, friends.  I raise children with my husband, who is a more adept parent than I am and I have significant moral support, but on weekends, I am alone.  Mulay and I make our lives and jobs work by essentially trading the kids off, and rarely see each other.  we are working this hard because we know it will be worth it in the future.

I am not a consumerist, which means that I do not desire gifts, flowers, cards, or candy on holidays.  I want time and memories.  yet, I have been in a funk of sobbing for days, for those who are incarcerated and cannot see their kids, for those who have lost their moms, or lost their daughters and sons, parents of varied genders who don't fit into the binary celebration of parenthood, the loss of my father and grandfather in a short period of time, being stressed at work.   I feel burdened under the weight of motherhood right now, in that nothing I seem to do is good enough, the right way, and my patience wears thin, everyday.  even on days of supposed celebration, I find myself potty-training, fighting two stubborn mini versions of myself through every section of our day; I yell way more than I want, but I cannot stop the rage from exiting my throat.

with the greatest of intentions (often different than impact), I am trying to raise free, black children.  I want them to educate themselves as broadly as possible, in many languages, on many continents, in the world as well as the library and the school building.  I want them to have consent over their bodies and ask for consent from others.  I want them to know their value, their worth, their beauty as well as the history that black skin carries, that they will carry, but that they do not have to stay in America, where this disparity is the most deadly.  I am trying to raise people who value knowledge, who play fair, who read emotions like books, who talk through their frustrations, who use creativity and activity as outlets for rage, who travel and learn.  Creation not destruction is what I want to teach them.

but here's the thing:  just like my students, they teach me far more than I could ever teach them.  how can I preach equality, but not always listen to them?  why do I feel a need to be in control?  nas asks me questions like these, and sometimes I need to put myself in the time-out to consider the answers, because they are right.  sometimes i am unjust, i am dictator of the dining room, parenting is a series of wrongs, and all of the "i'm sorry"s, and "i'm just trying to love you the way i know how", which is never enough, or the right way, or at the right time.

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