I call my friend who has a daughter one year older than my son and a pregnancy a few months father alone than mine. We talk about the way our bodies are changing this time. She’s having another cesarean, I’m having another home birth, and in this difference, in all our differences, we somehow find comfort. Like we lack a little conviction in our choice until it’s countered by another’s opposite choice – and then suddenly we really like our choice! I try to convince her to breast-feed, but I know she won’t.
Or I assume she won’t: motherhood as a form of piety. I talk a lot about piety of the mothers I hear talking at the park, yet I’m just as pious. I cringe when, sitting at a doctor’s office, I see a woman giver her son fiery hot Cheetos.
The things I won’t do as mother, the things I will. What I concede, what I cling to… What I cling to desperately.
That this piety, misplaced – that this piety, sublimated – becomes a fantasy of mothering the world. If I had to do it my way, if I could show people how it’s done.. with my bustling bottom. Worst or best, no matter: I am the mother of the world.
We talk about how we’re raising our children, and I find myself lying a bit about what my son eats, about how much TV he watches, about how my husband and I are(n’t) getting along.
My friend lies, too – or so I hope – because from where I sit listening, her life sounds marvelous, velvety smooth.
How do I want the world to see me as mother? How will it? Angry Mother. Saintly Mother. The Mother Who Overcompensates. The Clumsy Mother. The Disorganised mother. The Chronically Late Mother. The Distant Mother.
A Hundred Therapy Sessions Worth of Mother. The Best Friend Mother.