Friday, April 08, 2005

Annual Motherhood Review

What Tolstoy said about families "All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." applies to single mothers equally. Each of us has a unique situation though it is tempting to lump us into a category. Ms K and Ms W are J's teachers at daycare. Like me they are single mothers and that is about all we have in common.

I am not playing date-nanny like K to her seventeen year old son as he and his girlfriend watch a movie in the living room. W is battling the legal system to get more time to spend with her six year old. The boy visits her every other weekend. She lavishes her interrupted motherhood on the J and her friends. K had her boy at eighteen has no context of herself except as his mother. W has a boyfriend who has no published timeline to make a commitment. W knows better than to push it.

The tie that binds is our agonizing doubt "Am I doing the right thing by my child ?" There is no adult counterpoint to balance the equation between us and our children. When at breakfast time J screams "I am full and tight" and I force another bite of apple or a gulp of milk down her, it all about me making that choice without the benefit of a partner to judge its merits. J is at my mercy and cognizant of it. She and I are in an ongoing, un-refereed power struggle. W and K have similar stories to share.

After months of dashing in and out of daycare, yesterday I finally found the time to sit with Ms K and review how J was faring and where I was lacking as her mother. "J is not needy of love you give her enough. She does not care too much about friends either. She is very independent and together. Give yourself some credit. You are doing ok."

I felt a surge of relief wash over me. Here was one thing in life that I seem to be doing right. K ought to know, she has been in the profession for twenty years. For the first time in the three years that I have technically been a mother, I felt like I had been deserving of the part.


Priyamvada_K said...

For the first time in the three years that I have technically been a mother, I felt like I had been deserving of the part.

Wow - what a way of putting it! I too have this constant "Am I doing this right?" all the time in my head. An unconscious rating system that rates how I'm faring. Wish it was annual - for me it seems to be biweekly :)

See -

I too have a friend (long distance) who raised her son single-handedly for 21 years. She's my solace and inspiration.


Peppy said...

Congrats HS! Theoretically no mom with a sensible head on shoulders [friendly nod to self's unsingle yet valiant mom] need ever doubt how well they are doing--but am sure a pat in hte back once in a while is nice :-)