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Why are so many moms ambivalent? #312769
05/11/07 05:00 PM
05/11/07 05:00 PM
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Posts: 110
Marin County, California
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Kat Wilder Offline OP
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Kat Wilder  Offline OP
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Marin County, California
Ever enter into a parallel universe in your own town?

I had a brief foray into one recently. It was a universe that seemed vaguely familiar, but that is so far removed from my life now that I can barely believe that I once was part of it.

The Young Mommy Universe.

I had a late-morning client meeting and didn�t have to rush off to work. So I decided to have a leisurely cappuccino at a a local java spot. This was mid-morning on a weekday, and the place was packed � does anybody actually work in this town? But most of them were cute young moms with cute young ones in cute little outfits in tow.

A few had obviously gathered there to meet their friends, other cute young moms; some were there just with their kids, sharing whipped cream-slathered hot cocoas, lattes and a sweet split among them for about, what, $12, $14? I watched as they tried to have �adult� conversations, interrupted every few minutes by one child or another who picked up crumbs from the floor and placed it in her mouth, or grabbed an empty chair and dragged it across the floor, or whined and hit, begging for attention.

It brought be back to the days of Young Mom Kat with Trent � all decked out in his Sweet Potato toddler outfits that I bought at the warehouse sales in Berkeley. This, of course, was back in the days before coffeehouses were the hot spots for young moms � we were the park mommies.

I remember those days with mixed feelings. Don�t get me wrong � I loved (and still love) being a mom. I couldn't even imagine life without The Kid, who has become a funny, creative, kind, genuine young man. I still get sentimental recalling the days of Play-Doh and Discovery Museum jaunts and snuggling on the couch to read �Are You My Mother?� and �Where the Wild Things Are� for the 10th time and, of course, our daily trips to the jungle gyms, sandboxes and swings of all Marin�s parks. It seemed such an innocent time.

But I also remember hours upon hours with just a toddler to talk to, and a life dominated by the nap-time clock. I remember sometimes feeling bored, trapped, tired. I craved to be connected again with other adults � not just other mommies, but to have an adult life, doing adult things and time to call my own. I wanted to say proudly, �I�m a mother,� when asked, �What do you do?� I wasn�t embarrassed, but that wasn�t the way I defined myself. It was my �title� first (even if I didn�t actually have it at the time) and mother second. I realized that nothing in my life had fully prepared me for the job of Mom. Of course there was my Mom, but it wasn't until I was a Mom myself that I asked her if she liked staying at home raising us. "Sometimes," she said.

And I know that the dilemma is really only for the entitled � women who can make a choice to stay home or work full- or part-time. For many women, that's not even an option. That choice helps create our anxiety.

I don�t think there�s an easy answer for the stay-at-home/career mom dilemma. Now that I�m a full-time working mom, I know full well the stress of trying to juggle it all, and Trent�s a teen and pretty self-reliant. But when I read stories like Rick Polito's Motherhood reinvented about the two Marin moms who wrote "I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids" � "a new book that shines a more realistic light on the playground panorama and gives voice to an unspoken angst, the self-stifled desperation of motherhood in an era where even having it all is not enough" � and when I see the young moms in Starbucks or at Lytton Square or at Old Mill Park, and when I read the thoughts of numerous mothers posting on blogs, I wonder why no one seems all that happy.

And I wonder if stay-at-home dads � I'll be talking about Mr. Moms in this Sunday's column � have the same conflicted feelings as more and more of them take on that role

It seems that many of us dream about having a family for so many years, and when we finally have one ... well, it's not always what we expected.

This Sunday, we'll celebrate our moms with a flurry of cards, flowers, phone calls, breakfasts in bed or fancy brunches at fancy places (and I wish all moms a happy day, and hope that The Kid even remembers!). But what do moms really want? Thoughts?

Kat Wilder's My So-Called Midlife

Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: Kat Wilder] #312802
05/11/07 10:54 PM
05/11/07 10:54 PM
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MomsPaula Offline
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"It seems that many of us dream about having a family for so many years, and when we finally have one ... well, it's not always what we expected."

No kidding! Ambivalent, I don't think so. Being a mom is nothing like what we expect. "Mom" is a title not a person. But, unlike a janitor, or a CEO, we rarely ignore or delegate. We can't quit and the pension plan is scarey. A mom is not of two minds-she is still her own mind (when she can find it,) but the depth of emotion that goes into her daily tasks overpowers the outpouring of any writer.

A mom "wants" the best for her child. What a mom "needs" is what she must address. Often what that lady wants doesn't make it to the fore, for weeks, and then some.

A "mom" is first a person, then a wife (Maybe) and mother. She is entitled to sip latte's with the rest of you if she chooses. She can dress and put on airs with the rest of you if she chooses. She can go deep and change a piece of the world if she chooses. She is a person! And I think dads are people too.

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Last edited by MomsPaula; 05/12/07 11:03 AM.
Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: MomsPaula] #312827
05/12/07 02:54 AM
05/12/07 02:54 AM
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I read an interesting article 20 odd years ago, where the author said something to the effect of, "We are all connected when raising children because parents are currently not required to undergo psychiatric evualations."

We are required to grow to raise kids. I believe it puts mothers in a unique place of understanding. But, before she gets there she needs to do the required work. Hey, it's life.

When manufactures and advertisers and those with wisdom of days before, stop making life about stuff and appearance, moms stand a better chance of seeing clearly.

Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: MomsPaula] #312955
05/12/07 09:10 PM
05/12/07 09:10 PM
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I guess that I am the only one here. But, I need to add, the two Marin moms who wrote "I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids" � what they had going on was connection. They had each other to confide in and feel safe. That is what all new moms may need the most. At a time when what we most often find is disconnection, that may be the thing moms want. Find a friend, hook up, drink lattes!

Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: MomsPaula] #312994
05/13/07 01:53 AM
05/13/07 01:53 AM
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Lake Lanier, Georgia
Chelle - Marriage Editor Offline
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Originally Posted By: MomsPaula
"It seems that many of us dream about having a family for so many years, and when we finally have one ... well, it's not always what we expected."


Oh, I know that storybook! Michael's problems started very early - around 2 I guess. But we didn't have any idea what the problem was. And for a long time I didn't want to admit that something might be wrong with my child - because he was so intelligent and beautiful! I have a great-uncle who has Cerebral Palsy - so I grew up knowing what physical disabilities would be like. And I worked with Down Syndrome children when I was in HS - kind of a big sister type thing; so I think I could've handled that situation, too. But the Asperger's - the extreme intelligence pushed under by extreme emotionl problems - that I didn't know what to do!

And I still worry - just realized that Michael only has 3 yrs of HS left, then college. I know he's smart enough to handle the classes, but can he get through the day-to-day stuff without us there to guide and remind him? I'm terrified!

Add to that my horrid migraines and depression - and sometimes I just want to resign as a Mom. But we don't get that option - we have to find some way to pull through and make it work.

It's just hard sometimes...


Michelle Taylor
Marriage Editor
Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: Chelle - Marriage Editor] #313078
05/13/07 01:52 PM
05/13/07 01:52 PM
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Happy Mother's Day, Michelle! I don't think raising kids-being a mom is supposed to be smoothsailing.
I think it's growth. And you are growing. My youngst child (beautiful/healthy) fell stifly backward and had a seizure last month. The doctor's are calling it a mystery. We have to make it through the next 18 months without another to feel it's over. Letting him on a bike, bath, etc. is hard. The mind is such a delicate thing.

Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: MomsPaula] #313083
05/13/07 01:59 PM
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P.S. I want to resign about once a month, as well. If that were an option, I wouldn't need to worry, I would have probably been fired years ago.

Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: MomsPaula] #313202
05/14/07 03:12 AM
05/14/07 03:12 AM
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Marin County, California
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Kat Wilder Offline OP
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Happy Mother's Day to both of you.
Yes, it is hard � but I wouldn't trade it for the world (except, ya know, the times when I want to do a "Thelma and Louise," just without the dying part!!!

Soon, my kid'll be gone. I don't know how I'm going to come home to an empty house every day! And, you know, your kids and mine will do fine without us. Guess it's just a Mom's job to worry.

Today, my column was about dads who want to stay home, and how hard it is for them to find women who want that, too. If you're interested, please check it out at
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Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: Kat Wilder] #313251
05/14/07 07:30 AM
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My oldest daughter was born on Mother's Day in 1981. My youngest daughter graduated highschool on Mother's Day, 2007, and turned 18 last week. I have a son in-between. For 26 years I have basically been a struggling, single mother. It was what I was and it was who I was. Reading your post, Kat, really hit home, making me realize I'm still not quite sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I've somehow managed to get all three kis raised and well on their way to an excellent future. There were rough times, but I wouldn't change a thing. Despite domestic violence having tried to put a black cloud over us, the sun is shining brightly today. I may not have been exactly the "typically normal" parent as defined by this small, close-minded, prejudiced village, but while they gossiped and made themselves feel better, I raised my kids! Today as I face the empty nest, I can relax, because it wasn't my kids involved with the drugs and drinking and death that so many others are still dealing with. It's time to reinvent myself and this time, I have no doubts in my ability to succeed. My only regret....that I didn't realize back then just how quickly the time was going by. My greatest lesson...I can be and do whatever I put my mind to. I don't think I'm gonna have the time to notice any emptiness. Besides, it's not really empty, just spread out. I'm so grateful for every one of the hard times! Happy Mother's Day!

Re: Why are so many moms ambivalent? [Re: nadaurz] #313297
05/14/07 04:03 PM
05/14/07 04:03 PM
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Kat Wilder Offline OP
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So beautifully written, nadurz, thank you!
You are truly blessed, and so are your kids.

Last edited by Kat Wilder; 05/14/07 04:03 PM.
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