I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hopelessly Devoted

Claire's comment on my camping post got me thinking about motherhood. (If you missed it, she commented that my camping experience indicates that I'm a devoted mother.)

My Mom went back to work shortly after each of us children were born - and she would tell you that it wasn't a matter of money, it was a matter of not wanting to be a stay at home Mom. I felt much the same way about it, actually...when the triplets were six months old, I got a call from my boss asking me to make a decision about coming back to work. I laughed and told her the decision was made long before those children were even conceived. I love and adore my children, but I know I'm just not suited to being a stay at home Mom.

I think the mothers (and fathers) who stay at home with their children full time are the most selfless, amazing people on earth - and cliched as it is, I don't know how they do it. It's a level of devotion I can't see myself attaining (because I'm not able, nor am I inclined to.) 

What, exactly, defines a devoted mother? What separates good mothers from bad ones? I tried to define this for myself and came up with nothing much - because I'm thinking that to be a truly BAD mother, you've got to be neglecting your kids' basic needs of food, shelter, and education. Suppose you provide all of those, but no love and affection. Are you then a bad mother because you are giving them all they need to survive but not giving them love (which I would argue is also necessary for survival)? Or are you a good ENOUGH mother because you're giving them what they need only on a very basic level?

..and what if you are a mother who simply does not have the means to provide the food, the shelter, the education, but you love your children? Are you then a bad mother because circumstance has kept you from being able to provide, because after all, one can't eat love for dinner?

I might be opening an enormous can of worms here, but I'd love to hear what you think about this (and go on, all you who read but never comment, this is a good a time as any to out yourselves from lurker-ville.)


Miss Cocoapops said...

I personally loved staying at home with my daughter when she was young, but I don't think that makes me a better mother, it's just what I had always wanted and needed to do. We were very lucky that we could afford to live on one wage until she started school, when I went back to work part-time. But in saying that I also did have regular breaks from her, I had help from my mum and she went to day care one day a week. I consider myself very fortunate that I was able to spend those years at home, and I never for a minute missed going to work. Michelle I know your kids and can't imagine that they could love you any more than they do now, even if you had stayed at home with them, you are still a fabulous mother and your kids know how much you love and adore them. Having triplets is a whole different kettle of fish. If I had triplets would I have been a stay-at-home mum? Probably not!!

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

Thanks R. :) I love that you are now commenting here, and thanks for the warm fuzzies!