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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Childless Me vs. Mama Me

If you met me 10 years ago, you would not recognize me as Zen Mama. No, ma'am. Having fertility problems, choosing homebirth, and becoming a mother to my amazing son who is my best teacher have all morphed me into this person most of my family members and long-time friends no longer recognize.

Childless Me: Baby in crib. I need my space and I don't want him in bed until he is 17 and bringing make out partners in with us.
Mama Me: Family bed that is over 11 feet wide and full of warmth, love, and healing properties for as long as he wants.

CM: Spanking is necessary if a child is about to do something screwy like touch the stove or run into the street.
MM: Lady, are you high??? Hit, humiliate, and hurt a child as a means of getting your message across? You were clearly hit one too many times and had something jostled around in your teeny-tiny little brain. This makes absolutely NO sense to me and even less sense to your son.

CM: I will breastfeed, but that child will be on a schedule, boobs shall be covered at all times, and nobody is lactating past 12 months.
MM: Pah! Anytime, anywhere; out and proud; for as long as he needs and wants. (Sometimes I wish I could go back and slap CM upside the head.)

CM: Homebirth-schmomebirth! I want to be in a hospital where there are doctors and medicines and machines in case something goes wrong.
MM: Hospital-schmospital! I want to be in at home where there are no doctors or medicines or machines, because nothing is going to go wrong.

CM: Cloth diapers are from the stone ages. Why would I choose to make more work for myself when we have modern conveniences? That's crazy-talk.
MM: Let's see, less waste, less impact on the environment, safer and healthier for my son, and cheaper. Uh, why wouldn't we go cloth? Why doesn't everyone? Oh ya, because they're like CM. Oh dear...

CM: I teach in the public school system and am also the product of it. I turned out fine. I enjoyed it. Plus, I don't want my babe to turn out to be all weird and hermit-like.
MM: I taught in the public school system. I loved it. I also don't wish to send my son there if I can help it. I want to teach him far more than he could ever learn sitting at a desk for 13 years. We will learn and teach together. The world is his classroom.

CM: Crying it out teaches babies to soothe themselves. That's life. That's reality in our world. Mama's not always going to be there to soothe you and wipe your nose and the sooner you learn that, the better.
MM: What a tool. CM disgusts MM. Ya, why not teach a child that they can count on absolutely no one in this cold, hard world...even their parent. Tool.

CM: Attachment parenting is just plain kooky. A friend of mine does it and I just think it's nutty. I mean, how is a kid supposed to learn to stand on his own two feet if his mommy is always there? That's ridiculous. (Sorry, C, I totally and ridiculously judged you.)
MM: First, what a lesson in "judge not, lest ye be judged." Second, I was an ignorant buttmunch. I mean, that pretty much covers it.

CM: Everyone I know is circumcised. That's just what is done. And they certainly don't remember it.
MM: Let's talk human rights, sexual function, illness prevention, and autonomy. If you still are pro-cutting, let's talk some more.

CM to CH (Childless Husband): "If both babe and I are hanging off a cliff, who would you save?" After much discussion, CM and CH both came to the conclusion that we would save the other and not the babe, because we could always make another babe, but could never get another one of us.
MM: This is true and it just goes to show how very far I have come as a person and mom. I am ashamed of my previous thought process, but I would not be honest (and you know my feelings about honesty) if I didn't include this. Suffice it to say, DH (Dada Husband) is also ashamed and saddened by how little we understood about what it is to be a parent and the depth and breadth of a parents love for their babe. The moment he was born, we both looked at each other and said without qualm or shame, "I love him more than you." And that's the way it's supposed to be in our estimation.

Stuff changes. Thank goodness it does. I will tell you, though, nothing would've changed for me if I had been met with judgment and aggression as childless me. People will come to our community with ideas just as crazy as mine were. I get it. I was there. I think it's important to meet them where they are and work toward guiding them toward a place where both they and their babes will be happier, healthier, and safer. Guiding them, not shoving them.


  1. Remember your lesson in not judging. While I take similar position on many issues, I remember that not all women do, and that is okay. Parenting is not true/false or even multiple choice - it is an essay where there is no right or wrong answer. As long as we all do our best, which is measured by our own unique and personal circumstances, and we all love our babies, then all is good. If you open a kindergarten door and peek in, you won't know which kids were breastfed or which slept in cribs, but you will know which were loved, read to, and cared for in the general sense.

  2. This post sounds a lot like you wrote it from inside my head! Before having my daughter I used to frown at people who spent so much time with their children. A friend lent me a Gina Ford book when I got pregnant, and I intended to follow it to the letter. I disapproved of people who didn't leave their child to cry at night... Now my daughter shares my bed and pretty much every other aspect of my life, and I couldn't be happier! (also I wouldn't hesitate to let her father fall off a cliff but that's another story!)

  3. Love this! Some things can only be learned through experience. I could have written much of this too. And it is so good to remember where we've been before so we can remember to be loving with others who are in different places than we are now.