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11 May 2010

self-made mom

it's been raining all week here, no time to go out and enjoy spring. on friday morning there was a sunny intermezzo, sunny enough to let the kids perform for mother's day in the school garden. it's a religious institute, all kids bring a flower or a plant to the holy virgin, and these will be planted in the yard to decorate the school patio.

it's alice's last year of kinder, she'll end this cycle of education in a couple of months and i feel very emotional about it. it's strange to think there won't be such events next year but different ones in a new school district, where she'll be performing with new peers and teachers in her primary adventure. life keeps evolving, it's a natural process, i know, though i can't help feeling a wreck right now. the least i can do is enjoying everything at its fullest (and taking as many photos as possible!).

alice is growing so fast, watching her develop into this incredible being and beautiful personality is very rewarding and just a miracle. i feel like i'm living my life all over again through my daughter. i get to experience the things i did as a child again, and watch through her eyes and see her excitement. life is fun in a different way all over again. the most important thing for me, during this journey-to be, is to keep challenging myself on the way in order to be a really good mother to her.

of course i want to give her the opportunities i didn't have, and a financial security, but there are other things that count to me, first of all the sense of being loved. i think it's the most important thing that a parent can give their child. unconditional love, of course. i don't force her to be who i think she should be in order to earn my love. i know she's an individual under my care, not an extension of myself.

at the same time, i think that modeling her behaviour and character the way i hope she will adopt is not imposing but very constructive. i know lots depends on personalities, but children are like sponges and they tend to do what they see. how i behave is something that my child might mirror one day and i want her to be kind, so i'm kind to others by example even on days when i'm not feeling so kind.  i try to be a positive role model and pay attention to what i say or do around her and i think twice.

another thing that counts to me is self-esteem. cuddles, encouragment, appreciation, approval, smiles can go a long way to boost the confidence. i'm also very physical, showing affection with lots of hugs and kisses and letting her witness that i sincerely love and respect her father, so that she knows that love and respect should be in a home.

these are the standards i rely to as a mother. i cannot be seen if i'm doing it right. it's lke building a great  cathedrals, but you can't see right now what it will become. this metaphor on motherhood is very appropriate. it's by nicole johnson, who wrote a novel, ''the invisible woman', about the sacrifices of invisible women (mothers). here's a vivid excerpt of her thought.

she got the right perspective, definitely. and to me, the real essence of motherhood sums up in her final words: "I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'my mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there" (credit)'.
so, you see, i ride the motherhood rollercoaster taking one thing at a time and conscious that parenthood is made of litte steps and that you also learn on the way. most of the times kids teach you, you only have the decency to admit your mistakes and apologize.  you can't plan motherhood, it's tough, but then we have those amazing moments that make everything worth it. i'm new to the parent territory and this scares me at times. even if i always had a high sense of myself that i didn't care what other people think, i wish i had people to rely to on experience, starting from my own mother. it's a plus, since anyway i trust my instinct all the time above everything, but a nice plus. bits of advice can help when you're challenged in the growing up years.

well, i can still handle all and i'm lucky to have an attentive husband to support me. he works long hours but he's very involved. we always make the choices that are best for our family and our situation rather than trying to conform to what other parents are doing. despite my huge lack of experience, i never feel inadequate. i'm just reinventing my role for my baby.  life is 10% how you make it and 90% how you take it after all, it's so very true! 

then, i'm fascinated with how personal and spiritual growth applies to motherhood. it's a powerful rite of passage that often transforms women in many ways. no one is immune to the changes of parenthood but i believe that the more flexible, independent, used to shouldering responsibility and good at performing under pressure you are, the better you handle those changes.

the experience didn't fill any void for me, i wasn't not in the dark neither felt incomplete, but becoming a mother is the best thing that's happened to me and yes, it changed me too. it made me understand that loving someone to such a huge extent is possible and remains intact (that lovely mother feeling you feel from the very beginning, when you wonder how your newborn can be such  a little bundle of perfection and be all yours). i now am more aware of how important my actions and words are.  i try to be understanding when those around me make mistakes, and not to show my frustration so my children will learn patience.

but most of all parenthood quadrupled my confidence. it made me realize what a strong person i am. i knew it before, but no other experience could have let me explore things about myself at a new level. i didn't know that my capacity for rage, worry, love, fear, guilt and protectiveness were possible before i became a mom. there's something about being pushed to the point of giving up, but not being able to give up – like during childbirth – and having to find the strength from within to complete the task.

i feel ready for the future, whataver it may bring. motherhood is a lifelong job and i totally embraced it.

WANTED: Men and women volunteers. No experience necessary. No predictable schedule. Situation often out of control. Long hours. Unpaid. No training. No praise. Will be expected to work to an incredibly high standard with little support. Everyone else will think they know how to do your job better than you, yet you will be the only one blamed if something bad happens. A totally improvisational position (credit).

this is the job of being a parent. this is the job i signed up for. god bless alice, and fingers crossed for elda the mother on the way! :)


  1. You are the bestest (I know that is not correct but it should be) mother I know: loving, down to earth, giving, strict when needed, always there for Ali but also always prepared to point out if she's done something that was not ok. I love it how you prepare her for life. Like when you missed that boat in Piran:no yelling, no criticizing, just stating facts and the consequences that each act brings. It is not easy raising a kid. I would have so many doubts if I was doing a good job. We were once talking about kids using drugs (at work) and I asked my co-workers: how do you raise a kid in a way, that he/she won't use them? And one father answered: you can't do that, you can only teach them what is right and what is wrong. I though that was the best answer possible. I have no fears for Ali. She will grow up to be spectacular! And will always hold a special place in my heart (like her parents do).
    Well, this is more a post, than a comment :))

  2. i'm speachless, sandra. you're one of the best people i know. i feel so blessed to have you in my life, sweetie. proud of that. i love the way our paths crossed and i want to nurture you as a plant: giving enough water not to let you die, and not so much to distort your growth.

    nothing prepares you to motherhood and i'm glad you've such a high opinion of me as a mother. what you said is so true, thank you. and what a memory hey! that boat to piran, yeah. we lost it. ali learned to proriotize from that experience :)

    your co-worker is so right, you just can teach them where to stand in life, then it's up to them.

    thanks for your post hey! j'adore sandrà! LOL


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