26.03.2012 81 °F
To be a mother requires a great deal of patience. Patience not only for when your child wants to stop and pick flowers on your way to the parking lot, or when they ask you for the thousandth time to read the one book that drives you insane, or when you have to pause and let them put the dishes back in the dishwasher, while you are trying to clear it out. Those things all take a level of tolerance and patience. They take an understanding of the child's need to grow and experience. But there is a bigger, more global sense of patience required as well. A patience that means not getting your own needs met, because there was not enough time for both. The patience of accepting that there are goals that you have for yourself, that there are aspirations and motivations that must go unanswered while your children are young. There are classes you wish to attend, career advancements that you do not take, desires that you put aside. This selflessness of motherhood is a deep, sometimes painful type of patience that I never knew I had. There is a perseverance there, a true pacing of the self that requires an insistent recommitment to the highest priority of parenthood, and the noblest good of raising children right.
When I sit and think about the things that I want to accomplish, I realize that if I am being honest with myself, there is no way I can contribute myself to those things and still keep to the vision of my life as a mom. I am the type of person that does things 100%. I don't settle for B's or C's, I am an A student type of over-achiever. I have always given my all to various pursuits. But now I am struck with the shocking awareness that I no longer have 100% to give. As a mother, possibly forevermore, I only have most of myself to offer. Part of me already has a steady constant focus on my family.
Maybe I had some inkling of a hint that this was how it would play out for me once I had children. For some reason, I told myself to wait until later in my thirties before having children - there were places I wanted to travel, there were goals I had for myself - like finishing medical school - that I felt I had to do before I had kids. Now I see the wisdom in those choices because for me, my ambition and my ability to focus on career or even personal hobbies is some percentage less than full. Sometimes there is a frustration with having to choose, with having to wait, with having to tell yourself you just cannot do it all. Most of the time though, it is a reality that I accept.
If I were a pie graph, there is a slice now that is permanently dedicated to my son. This is not a bad thing. This is not a chosen thing. It is simply a biologic and emotional truth. I have to begin to adjust to this portion of the pie that I have to give to myself, and to reach a peace with the percentage that is left.