You know, this year has been big changey-changey for me. And I'll probably really value it forever because it's helped me to realize that some things can just change. And that it's ok and even good. Because it's easy to cling to the definable traits like religion. I am a homebirthing mom, I am a homeschooling mom. I am a Catholic, homebirthing, homeschooling mom. I am a Catholic homeschooling mom.
Until I wasn't most of those things anymore.
Some things are a part of my unchangeable identity. Wife, mom, Catholic, friend. These are who I am, they aren't what I do. Those other things are what I did but they weren't who I was. It's easy to twist that up though, isn't it?
And it's easy to think that when you discontinue a certain habit you kill a little bit of your authentic self. Maybe that's why we are so hesitant to make a big change. I was, too. I still kind of am. And I know many of you are. I had the same flood of comments on my post about sending our kids to school as I did about getting an epidural. I really want to... I think I really do... I am in the same boat as you... I am thinking the same thoughts...
All this says to me is that we are changeable humans. And that we need it. We need to accept new ways and allow them. And even be happy about them. We need to be brave and do it differently if we must. And still be able to have a glass of wine with our feet up at the end of the day and be alright with ourselves.
When I chose homebirth for our kids it was because it was right for us, then. But each new baby brought along a new me, and a totally new family dynamic I had to consider. By the time I was pregnant with Peter, I often found myself in a tangle of anxiety about how his birth would go. I so desperately wanted it to be easy and quick and renew my love for the birth experience. And then it ended up being really, really hard. When I found myself pregnant with Joe I would lay in bed so afraid of his birth, like a storm looming months down the road. I was worried and emotional and nervous and that affected who I was as a mother and as a wife. And then I remembered I could just decide to do it differently that time. This wasn't a moral decision, this was just freedom. Freedom to chose one way or another, and freedom to determine what was the best way, then.
The moment I swallowed my pride enough to firmly decide on a medicated birth, I wasn't afraid anymore. And I went on to experience a very stress free pregnancy which was good for myself and good for the people around me, all dependent on my love and my sanity.
School has turned out to be a similar thing. I loved homeschool, I still do. But what once was sweet has turned sour. And I agonize and agonize about "going back" on what I said I'd do until I realize this is not a crime. It's not bad. In fact, it's good. If you're even a little like me, maybe we are used to being so hell bent on the "way it has to be" that it's really hard to see when change is the necessary course for us.
I do think it's easy to look at these cells of ____ types of moms like unbreakable clans that we can neither penetrate or leave. Once you're a ____ mom, you're in for life. If you abandon the cause you're a deserter, if you've deserted then you never truly were.
But I'm learning through my own experience how unfair that mentality is. I was that and I'm now this and it's fine.
Don't get me wrong. This isn't another mommy wars post. We all know enough to be nice and loving and to accept each other for who we are. My point is it's too damn easy to treat ourselves this way. To convince ourselves we are doing something wrong because we are choosing a new way. Even if it's a better way for us, or our husbands, or our kids. Even if God is telling us yes. Even if it's just because we are freaking out and we can't do it that way anymore. Even if it's just because we don't want to do it that way anymore. Even if a million other mothers can. All because we are too proud to erase a title from our name.
But I'm right here with you. And I think we will all be stronger and better for it. For allowing deletions and additions to our repertoire to come and go, knowing that who we are is woman, wife, friend, sister, mother, daughter of an Almighty God; and whichever names of those we share, they are the ones that matter.
PS Unbeknownst to me, earlier today Mary took this picture of a picture of me dancing at our wedding. I hadn't seen it before I wrote this but how appropriate, huh?