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Mothering and Masochism--Editorial

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Way before I became a mother my own mother warned me about something. She is the most honest person I know and she told me the relationship of mother- child is like a sado-masochistic neverland from which one never quite escapes. I giggled nervously and stopped taking my birth control pills.

Twelve years, two sons, one divorce and two marriages later, I, along with my sons' stepfather, are hard pressed to keep from torturing ourselves daily over the trials and tribulations of my older son's pending pubescent insanity and the younger one's, just, insanity.

Everything from holidays to birthdays to time with their friends, sleep overs, phone calls, homework and summer camp, sports and dropping out of sports, being chubby or being fit, eating or not eating ice-cream or playing the violin, going to bed and waking up on time, playing a board game or a computer game--everything is up for a probable discussion and possible conflict. We talk to our children (something I'm beginning to think may be overrated--okay, I'm joking!), and often to one another. We read books, we read articles, we talk with our parents, with other kids' parents and I listen to NPR religiously to and from work every day. Yet for every moment, evening, hour, or week we have of familial bliss with our well-balanced, happily developing little boys, there is another hour, week, day, evening or weekend during which they are bouncing off the walls, freaking out (literally), fighting with each other or us, or other kids, or feeling better than others or tons worse, or are ego maniacs or convinced they are born losers, making me, in particular, feel like a total and complete failure when I'm not shivering in anger, and wondering, "WTH?"

Because in truth, mothering is difficult, and what's more, there is no true objectivity within it. Attempting to be truly objective in mothering is like attempting to be truly objective in examining your own heart; you really can't see it and if you took it out to look at it you would no longer be alive.
Mothering is like this. Our children are as much a part of us as our hearts; we want what's best for them and what is in their best interest.

Add a Comment1 Comments

WOW, Amy. Great article. You articulate motherhood in a way that I can really feel the pain along with you. Perhaps it's because I'm right there with you. Thanks for sharing. :)

January 24, 2011 - 9:49am
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