Last week I wrote a post about my learning process in parenting, renouncing perfection and accepting myself to be as simple and common as a mother can be. (you can find it here).
That article was not easy to write. Not for me.
While I wrote it I had flashes of my whole life: my story as a child, my daydreaming teenage, my spiritual search and my professional experience as educator. Somehow I had convinced myself I was going to be a “superior mother”, just wonderful, perfect in almost every way (some sort of Mary Poppins idealist). These ideas fell apart when motherhood showed me I still had so much more to learn, so much more to love and respect.
When I was young I compared myself to a deer. I can remember closing my eyes and feeling without doubt I was like a deer: calm, soft, delicate. And I thought this personality would stay forever.
But when we came back home with our sweet, beautiful, adorable newborn baby, a friend of us came to visit and I greeted him exultant, telling him I had become a lioness. This statement surprised me. I did not think about what I was saying, it just jumped out of my mouth. Sure enough, I was feeling a proud queen wanting to sleep all day with my puppy on my chest, ready to give my life to protect him. I could not think of a better comparison. The “lioness” had come to stay. There was no trace of the fearful deer I had once been. Now I was standing on the other side of the street.
Finally, as years went by I discovered being lioness is not the best thing for a human mother, not for me at least. It can lead you to indulge into some temperamental explotions no one wants and particularly not children.
Coincidently, this week I found there was a massive discussion around Amy Chua´s article in Wall Street Journal: “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”, an essay excerpted from her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. (I hadn´t heard about this until I read this post at Not Just Cute´s blog, which is worth reading).
I won´t join the discussion about what Chua wrote in the WSJ though I could hardly finish reading her words. More than 7300 comments should have covered enough variety of thoughts, pros and cons. I understand the reasons for this social phenomena are way more complicated and profound than what it looks like at first sight but that´s not my point here. (There must be tons of posts considering this issue. I only read a few. In case you are wondering, the one I liked the most was:“Superior parenting? That´s crazy talk. Children need only three things” by Ric Ackerly.)
The only thing I want to mention is the fact that she also compares motherhood to an animal. And for some inexplicable reason this helped me to complete a life circle, something I was really needing these days. Suddenly I understood I´m not the lioness anymore: I don´t want to be it.
Indeed, what I want for myself, for my little boys, for my husband, for our community and for the world at large is to be the only thing which can possibly make sense for me now: a human being. A real human being, not an animal like one. Because I firmly believe the main characteristic of human beings is being humane. No deer. No lioness. No tiger, thank you very much.
On my scale of values, my children will be successful in life if they can unfold their true potential, revealing in thought, word and deed how humane they can be. And what´s best than having a humane mother to get inspired?
I´m determined to fight for that.
Just one more thing: if you identify with any of the things I wrote here, you might be interested in reading this guest post by Suchanda froma Mama Eve at Janet Lansbury´s site: Breaking an abusive cycle through AP and RIE.