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My mom. Oh goodness where does she begin and I end or visa versa? Although we are complete opposites personality wise, she has always been the greatest hero of my life.
I was always fiercely protective over my mom because of her sweet nature and tendency to do everything for everyone else, even if that meant compromising her own health.
My mom played both a mother and fatherly role in my life when my dad struggled with mental health. She immersed herself in us to the point where I don’t remember her literally ever taking a moment to herself.
As a kid it was amazing having such a present mom, but as I grew older I just wanted to see her happy and thriving and not pinched off. It’s interesting how even in our youth we can tell if our parents are thriving or not. Although she found passion in our family, entertaining and nitrating those around her and all of the duties of motherhood, I always saw someone who was burning the candle at both ends and perpetually tired.
Being the YES person that my mother is, meant saying NO to herself in many ways.
This took its toll on her health. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue have been things she’s struggled with for years . Here I had this generous, present and giving mama who I just wanted to explore the world with, who could barely exercise without getting sick and had to nap almost daily just to get by. This haunts her to this day as any time she gets her heart rate up she gets inflamed and sick.
For years there were no answers or even a diagnosis for this type of autoimmune disorder.
Having grown up in an era and household where self care wasn’t really talked about or modeled, my mom often put herself and her needs last and simply “grinned and bared it”. We talk about this today., and how being strong to save face was actually so hard on herself. She also shares about the shift into feminism when she had me in 1981 and how she felt pressured to go back to work even though she just wanted to stay home. This made her sick with inner conflict.
She also shares about how the freedom in her childhood and how that translated into her own mothering. We discuss boundary setting and how she is finally focusing on herself and her career as well as learning to take time towards self care.
- Her parents and their “hands off” and stoic approach to parenting (aka wandering her neighborhood at age 5 with her brothers and sisters all day).
- How her self-sufficient upbringing shaped her as a person and as a parent.
- Getting married young and not really taking the time to know herself
- Not planning to get pregnant with me, but what becoming a mom taught her
- Feminism “fever” in the 1980’s when she had me and the pressure to return to work and “do it all”
- Her internal struggle with returning to work when I was a baby and how conflicted she felt
- Her experience as a working mom and stay at home mom (with my brother) and how it varied
- How she was a more “hands on” parent but also believes in not hovering over our children
- How our age of information and technology can make us feel even more pressured as moms to be perfect
- Why she played the role of mom AND dad in my life
- How she always wanted to give to everyone else, but how this also affected her health
- My dad and her divorcing after 33 years of marriage
- What she knows about herself know
- Why she NEVER took time for self care and what she wished she could’ve done differently
- Reflecting on our differences as moms and what she’s learned from me about self care