Friday, July 8, 2011

What is a Good Mom?

As promised, I am posting a pregnancy photo of our very own Serena Wills – radiant beauty in all of her mommy-to-be splendor. There are some women who you just know will make a great mother.

From the moment I found out Serena was expecting, I thought to myself, “What a lucky child her baby will be…to come into this world through her, to have her for a mother.” I thought the same thing about Annamaria too…and my sister…and all my friends with children. And yet they’re all different – with different ideas and different styles of parenting - yet all great mothers.

Motherhood has become a spectator sport for me. Since I don’t have children of my own, watching women (and men) with children in the street, on the subway, at the mall, in a restaurant – anywhere – can be particularly intriguing to me. And I find myself doing it - making judgments. I’m not proud of this fact, but it happens.

I cringe at the mother who is giving her baby soda and donuts for breakfast on the train. I wince when a mother curses at her child at the mall. And I try to keep myself from giving a disapproving stare when I see a child scream or hit their mother and call her out her name because she told little Johnnie “no” when he asked if he could have a toy. I catch myself thinking, “I wish a child of mine WOULD…”

But I have no children…so what do I know?

What you feed your kids, how you handle a tantrum, what preschool you send your kid to – those are all personal decisions that have nothing to do with anyone else. And I’m sure if I ever become a parent, someone will make snide comments about how I choose to raise my child. I experience self-doubt in this area everyday, even as my eggs remain unfertilized month after month. What kind of mother will I be? Should I even be a mother? How do women do it?

I have friends who never yell at their kid(s). I have friends who look fabulous ALL THE TIME – never a hair out of place, all while baking 100 cupcakes for their child’s class, working a 9-5, going to the gym and PTA meetings, having drinks with their girls and catering to their husbands. Who are these women and what planet are they from?

When I picture myself as a mom, all I see is TIRED. My nephews run me ragged. On the weekends that I visit, they’re all mine. I pull my hair back and put on an outfit that I don’t mind getting Cheeto dust or peanut butter on. I get all dirty at the playground and my pedicure is busted cuz they ran over my toes with their scooter. I try to enforce good eating habits, only to find myself at Mickey D’s getting chicken nugget Happy Meals with apples and chocolate milk or apple juice. And then I go to bed exhausted, only to wake up to them in my face asking me every 5 minutes when I’m getting up and them sticking their finger under my nose to see if I’m still breathing. Then I go back to Queens to FINALLY get some rest.

These aren’t even MY children, so I can only imagine what it’s like to do that 24-7. Motherhood seems like an occupational hazard!

I catch myself in my GYN’s office – the only non-pregnant person in the room most times – reading parenting magazines since that’s all they have around. You should breastfeed until the kid is 20 years old, only feed them organic food, start teaching them different languages at 6 weeks old, they should be a piano prodigy by the time they’re 3, and should get into Harvard with no problem if you follow those guidelines.

I’ll be lucky if I change the diaper correctly.

Arming yourself with information can be useful. But too much expert advice can lead you into the trap of believing that there is one right way to do things and that if you’re not doing it that one way your kids will suffer: A perfect recipe for mother’s guilt.

The reality is, there is no recipe for what it takes to be a good mother. Sometimes mothers lose patience. They yell. They feed their kids junk sometimes because it’s just easier at that moment. And sometimes mothers let their kids get away with things that they shouldn’t because they’re just….tired. But one of the things that those articles never mention is that children are very resilient, and smart…and they know that when you act in love that you’re acting on their behalf. That’s being a good parent.

If I ever am blessed enough to be a mother, I’ll just have to trust my internal mothering guide. They say kids don’t come with directions, but they kinda do in a sense. The directions are your instincts, your values and they’re the basis on which all of your decisions are made. If you make a decision about your child that comes from love, prayer, listening to and trusting in God and having faith in yourself, you’ll do just fine.

It’s the internal critic that many of us need to muzzle because it does the most damage. Without that little voice inside our heads creating doubt about our mothering skills, comments and judgments made by others would be less likely to take hold.

Doing what you believe is best for your children and your family makes you a good mother, no matter if it fits anyone else’s standard. There will always be decisions you make that others will be able to find fault with, but your true allegiance is with your kids. When you’re comfortable with your decisions, you need to just stand in them and own them and recognize that the only one you have to answer to is yourself, your child later and God. You don’t have to answer to anyone else.

When all is said and done, being a mother means tuning in to what really matters. Look into your child's eyes – when you see that sparkle, and he gives you a hug and you know that he loves you – that’s the best feeling. I feel it from my nephews and all the children in my life…and that little feeling right there gives me confidence that I just might join my sister, and Annamaria…and now Serena, in making a great mother one day.

-b

17 comments:

Annamaria said...

FIRST ON THE MAMA BITCHES!

Stef said...

DAMN DAMN DAMN!!!

Serena, you look AMAZING! GORGEOUS!

Annamaria said...

Serena is stunning preggers. And lil Thor is soo lucky to have her for a mom..
Brooke thanks for the compliment but mommyhood is EXHAUSTING! LOL And you're filled with doubts about if you are going to be good enough, have enough energy to do it all and make the right decisions. The only advice I can give is follow your heart, no soda & tase that lil mofo when he acts up.
The one thing I can say is I am extremly lucky for the support system I have and I KNOW that without it I would have left Sophia in the hospital. Without my mother who helps me with her EVERY SINGLE DAY in some way shape or form I'd be a mess. My mom picks Sophia up from day care & bathes & feeds her for me before I get out of work therefore during the week all I have to do is take her home & put her to bed when her bedtime comes. And she's our babysitter when we want a night out. I'd be a hot mess without her.
My sister in law/MOH who has offered me all types of advice & has help guide me through motherhood. (now she's a bitch that makes it look effortless)
Sophia's godmother Jess: has no kids yet is always there to do whatever when it comes to Sophia.
And last but certainly not least MY SISTER-WIVES...MS NAY, AISHA & MICHEL... I would have mass murdered Powerz & Soso at one point or another if it wasn't for these three ladies. We keep each other sane, listen to each other vent, help each other out, give advice and basically keep life fun! I love you all!!
At the end of the day I think that's what makes a good mama... someone who realizes what SHE needs to be a good mother & embraces it.. I realized I need my crew. And I embrace it. I wouldn't be the mother I am without them. They inspire me, motivate me & help me.

Jay said...

Brooke, just the way you wrote this blog indicates that you'll make a great mother one day. I hope you do it, because the world could use more potential mothers like you. That child will be lucky to have you for a mother.

Serena, you look stunning. Truly, you do. You also will make a great mother and your son is blessed. You have alot of love around you and great friends like Brooke and Annamaria to help you through your journey. You all are awesome.

Aisha G said...

All I will say is..... It takes a whole village. Rely on that village and you wont go wrong. Remember crackheads have kids. You will be aight

Stef said...

Soda and donuts? Um...that's a no-no! I don't have kids but just sayin! LOL!

Brooke, you'll make a great mother one day if you want to be one. I don't know one women who thinks they've got it down perfect. You just have to do what works for YOU and your family. Just like Anna said, you'll have support to help you and guide you, and you seem to have a strong faith...so you'll be great! Just like Anna and Serena!

I have those same fears as well since I don't have kids either, but I just have to hope that all will be okay. And you have a leg up on half these chicks out here who have no busienss being mothers. Yeah, I said it.

Annamaria said...

READS CRACKHEADS HAVE KIDS & LEAVES THE BUILDING...LMAO...

ISHA... LOL THIS IS WHY I LOVE U.

The Cable Guy said...

Brooke, they're right. I see bird chicks with kids, so you'll be just fine...TRUST.

And I'm sorry, I know we're not supposed to judge, but some people just should never be parents. If you're feeding your babies soda and donuts for breakfast, then you just don't give a f*ck.

The fact that you've even given motherhood this much thought shows you'd make a good mother. Some women just have babies for the wrong reasons - to keep a dude, get a check, whatever. They don't worry about being a good mother, they just pop them out and work the shit out later.

Annamaria seems like a great mother, Serena will be an awesome mother because her spirit is just so positive...and Brooke, if you choose to have a baby, you'll be a great mother too.

Geeque said...

Great Pic Serena!!

Geeque said...

This Blog was beautifully written Brooke!

Brooke said...

Thanks man!

Serena looks beautiful.

And I appreciate everyone saying I'd make a good mom - that's a high compliment. That mess does NOT look easy.

I'm just not ready. I like sleeping in, getting up and going when I feel like it. I'm too selfish right now. Hopefully I'll be ready before my eggs powder up :)

Annamaria said...

@Brooke-I loved being pregnant & I think you'd be an awesome mom sooo if you need a surrogate I'm there.. for a fee...LOL

and sleep in now.. Sophia's version of sleeping in is waking up at 7-7:30am...

Brooke said...

Annamaria,

Be careful what you say, because I'd use a surrogate in a HEARTBEAT! But some of my friends gave me hell about that... something about birthing my own kid, blah blah blah :)

Annamaria said...

I wouldn't do it for just anyone.. But I would do it for you.. Being pregnant is something that I think all MOTHER'S should experience.. But I also know that doesn't happen all the time...
I don't think that all women that birth a child are MOTHERS.. The same way I don't believe that a woman that doesn't give birth to a child can't be an awesome mother...

Yolanda said...

I'm with you on that exhaustion, Brooke. I help out with my cousins all the time and sometimes I just want them to face the wall and sit on their hands for a little while so I can chant or meditate or something. But, for those who have the patience and love in their hearts, I'm sure they'll make wonderful parents like Taser Mom and Serena. It really does require a great support system (which my Mom had for me) and the patience of Job. I know I lack patience so I am still sitting firmly on the fence of motherhood.

phillygrl said...

Serena is BEAUTIFUL...I have the same shot of me when I was pregnant, only I have on sweats & a t shirt!!lol:-) That is a great memory to have.

-I see those women who look flawless too...I'm thinking HOW?

-Although, I TRY to look presentable for work, I know there is something awry, that's why I keep earrings, makeup & breakfast in my office:-) as well as same colored socks( I have been known to wear two diff colored socks, trying to get lunch for Zaire & out the door to daycare in enough time to still get my train---

--getting better though, now that he can help:-) It's beautiful & exhausting at the same time & I wish I had a sister like you to hang out while I sleep in:-) .maybe I'll bring Zaire over there with Kyce & Ibrahim?:-)

-My cousin is the one with the soda, etc...her daughter can down an orange soda in no time flat(where as we do't keep soda in house at all) I don't drink it, so it's to each his own really,

---and kids are resilient b/c you see kids from the most dire upbringings become the most beautiful, well-adjusted people, but hear, it's hella TIRING and a selfless act...you reaally aren't living for yourself anymore b/c you are all they have:-)

Serena W. said...

I AM SOOOOOOOOO LATE! I had family and friends rolling in at 12pm on Friday for our baby shower and the last group just left yesterday so sorry I missed this.

Every time I look at that pic of myself and then down at my growing belly I'm amazed and thankful. God chose me to be a Mommy. Was I ready? Nope! It wasn't in "my plans." Am I happy (so grateful)!!!! Every day I thank God for my little pumpkin that's going to make his debut next month.

I say all of that to say it's not up to us "when or what we have planned" in regards to kids and life. It's truly up to God, it was his plan for me to be a mommy...for us (me and my sweetie) to come together and reunite and be parents together. Brooke I can so see you as a Mommy. It's a continuous journey but as many great parents have told me, "Your life will change...but for the better!"

We envision what he's going to look like, what he'll do, if he'll be drumming around the house and be a musician like his daddy or a mini poet like his mommy. Whatever he does we'll support him. It's a wonderful journey and like Annamaria, I'm loving my pregnancy! I'm going to miss him being physically connected to me but looking forward to our lives together.

I am scared that I'm doing this journey without my mother, but I have to remember her words. She was confident the day she passed away when she told me I'll be a great mother to her grandchildren. I know she's here with me...with us.

Thanks everyone for the compliments, to all of the wonderful parents out there reading this...I salute you! It's not easy...but it's a true blessing beyond belief!

Brooke I know you're jamming in Africa by now but thank you so much, this blog was so on point in regards to motherhood...parenthood...life...love you.

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