Don't get me wrong, being a Mother rocks! but not in that "its all perfect and I love it every single moment of my existence" kind of way. More in a "holy heck this is hard work and I am learning constantly and don't know what I am doing most of the time and boy oh boy this can be so incredibly confronting and painful" kind of way.
I was so desperate to do a great job and be a "good" mother that I almost immediately started taking the role of Parent way - and I mean waaaaaaaaaay - too seriously. We are told by wise Others that as the Mother, we are the only one who can Mother our child in that special way. While this is surely true, there is quite a difference between the role of being Mother, and Parenting in terms of how much or how little those roles become part of our identity.
I became a Mother, and at the same time took on Parenting as my new, permanent, all-pervasive job and identity. I parented my children, initially in that particular style of an anxious new Mother, and was doing OK (now that I look back without all the anxiety I felt at the time). Then I started parenting my husband. And my parents, and possibly even at times my friends. That was a lot of parenting. I was also parenting myself: playing the critic, pointing out the faults, suggesting new and better ways of doing it all etc. I was exhausted!
After a short while, I got really sick of myself - which I am sure is not hard to imagine when you think about being parented 24/7 without a break for coffee! Even a coffee break had the Parent there reminding me that I was wasting time and I needed to do this quickly so that I could get on with tidying up or being a Mother!!!
As the saying goes,
"Change only occurs when the pain of staying the same becomes too great"
I am so relieved it finally did! After just about destroying my sense of self, my relationship with my children, my relationship with my husband and becoming way too uptight and Parent-like for friends (who stuck by me nonetheless - god love em!) I realised that all this Parenting was leaving no time to be the Adult Sarah. And that while I was being Parent Sarah a huge amount of the time, I was also switching to Child Sarah when it all become too much.
Now I Parent the children - but not anywhere near as much as I used to. Now I spend more time as the Adult and very little time as the Child. And boy do I enjoy life more!
What role are you spending most time in?