Friday, September 5, 2014

L RAE BROWN On Being A Woman ― Finding me

ON BEING A MOTHER ~ Finding me

I spent ten years living like I was a "Stepford Wife" -- Mrs. "stay at home mom" from the 1950s, while my husband worked and pursued his career, seven days a week. I did all the housework, dealt with all the house repair issues, balanced our finances, cooked, raised the children, dealt with the in-laws, all the errands that go with the lifestyle, all by myself, and I had no support. At no fault to my husband, I allowed myself to believe, since he was a good provider, he gave me all his income, and I wasn't contributing financially after I gave up my law career, that I owed it to him to do the rest. I nearly lost my mind with that type thinking.

Having worked so hard all my life to make something out of myself, becoming a self-sufficient woman, to giving it all up without fully understanding how it would turn out was my own fault. In the process I lost myself. I lost the person I knew so well before the wedding bells and kids. I lost my own identity.
I know it might sound strange coming from me, but I had no clue that I had the right to ask for an equally supportive spouse. Back then, both of us did not know that an equal partner in life existed, or what it meant. We only knew from the example our parents showed us. We were raised to believe that a woman should be dependent on a man, and for the men to take care of their women. 

The funny thing about pain: pain will make you get up off your ass and fight back. Pain can make you confront any fear or insecurities. My pain gave me the wakeup call I badly needed to find myself again. Yes, it was unfortunate I gave up 'the me' I'd worked so hard to become. My beliefs have changed through this life experience. What I’ve learned in the process was that I didn't want my old self. I wanted the person I was becoming, a better me.

The benefit of giving up who I was? I became a much smarter, more empathetic, caring and a knowledgeable ME!  My children challenge me daily to be a better person. Through them, I have connected the puzzles of the hardship I’ve endured in my lifetime. When I imagine the lives they could have had versus the lives they're going to have from the experiences I have gone through, I’ve realized that my life’s lessons are meant to help me guide my children. Not only do my children benefit now from my experience, I too have evolved substantially. My Pops use to say, “We are only as good as we know.” As I watch my children grow and blossom, I’ll be able to see the difference in their lives. What a priceless gift I’m able to give my children, on a daily basis, now and forever. 

When my children were very little, I used to ask myself what was the benefit of being a parent. My answer now is that our children can teach us how to be a better person. Children teach us to humble ourselves and that compassion and love goes a long way. My children have shown me that I am a better woman than I ever was. I don't look back anymore and miss the old me. Because of my children, the woman I am today is the one I respect and love.
I am grateful, to be a mother.

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