Have you ever wondered where you went? I mean, you, the one who wrote poetry and sipped away half a dozen glasses of wine every night; the one who looked in the mirror and never did a double take and wondered, is that me? Sometimes when I’m knee-deep in finger paints and dinosaurs and peanut butter and jelly bran muffins it will hit me. Who am I? Am I mom, am I lover, am I poetess, am I housekeeper, cook, dutiful wife…? Or am I artist, writer, vixen, girlfriend, scatterbrained girl…? In the place of my Arcade Fire and ToriAmos is the “My Friends Tigger and Pooh” theme song. In the place of my favorite leopard print skyscraper, fuck-me heels and kiss-me-so-it-shows-red lipstick is yoga pants and chapstick and bare feet with a smattering of clear polished toes. French press to Folgers in a plug-in and lovely artichokes to frozen carrots.
Eleven years of motherhood and I’m still seeking this elusive balance. I find it difficult not to turn my whole self over to the job of motherhood and surrender all that makes me myself to my children. Like so many other mothers out there I find I’ve given some of the best parts of myself up to be what I think they need me to be. But at what cost? Is it really better for them to have a shadow of me than ME? Perhaps I can’t be this “mom” in my head but should I even have tried? Looking back I wonder if I had more to offer children than I thought. I mean really, this is a sacrificial practice we mothers commit. We bleed our former selves dry at the alter of perfect parenthood. Somehow, our kids will suffer if we don’t implode a little, learn to love fish sticks, give our beauty and youth over to dirty diapers and homework and our sexuality to bathrobes and exhaustion.
My question is this, what does all of this leave us to give them?
I love Ginsberg, I love the way he weaves words together and the first time I read Sunflower Sutra it left a tattoo on my heart. At 16, just discovering how powerful a person’s words can be I was left awe-struck by how someone who lived as his whole self could affect the way I would think and live and imagine. Forever. Someone I didn’t and wouldn’t ever know. Just the words he shared have shaped so much of me. Here I am, in charge of helping to shape the minds and souls of my children and I’ve come up short. I truly believe that to be happy you must be yourself. I tell my son all the time that he has everything in the world to offer, simply by being him and I’ve dropped the ball by example.
So what to do? Maybe the time has come to evaluate myself and who I’ve become. Why can’t I wear my heels and share my love of roasted brusselsprouts and shark-fin soup and poetry and Frida and put on my lipstick to home school and help them to be themselves completely. By being myself.


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