30 DAYS OF FEELING – DAY 19
The things we learn from our parents shape us for life, you will become the parent your parents where to you, and they were the parents their parents were to them, like a circle that repeats itself with each generation. You learn the meaning of a mother from your mom and when you grow up and become a mother yourself, you will teach your child the same meaning of a mother, you will learn what you are taught and you teach what you have learned.
It’s a great thing that we work this way, I guess this is how we survived throughout most of our history, when being a mom was still about making sure the whole family stayed alive. Imagine when 400 years ago a mom taught her daughter to prepare food, make clothes, heal fevers and make fires only for the daughter to decide, fuck my mother, I’m not going to the mother she used to be for me, my kids can figure things out by themselves! Well, that would have been the end of this family, and if there would have been too many stubborn daughters, I am sure I wouldn’t have been writing this on my macbook today.
But things changed, daughters are no longer needed to make a generation survive. It is true that they do actually have to make the baby, but after this, they can fuck up a lot without this kid actually dying. Today we have doctors to cure diseases as well as pre-cooked meals, clothing stores, daycares, school, electricity, heating, hot water… We can even buy breastmilk in boxes of powder or bottles sold online, we really no longer need our mothers in order to survive, instead, money is enough to make a kid grow up.
Today it seems almost better for a mother to make money instead of staying home and caring for her child. I remember when I was babysitting for a family 10 years ago and this three years old kid told me about how expensive his parent’s cars and house were, “my mommy and daddy have so much money that they can buy me everything I want. They are the best parents!” But to do so, his parents both worked over fifty hours a week, had many business dinners and went to the gym every day to stay in shape. I spend more time with this boy than he did with his mother while she was still able to provide him with what he needed, or so it seemed.
My own mother tells the story of how motherhood changed in my generation, or at least, how easy it was for her to raise me with money. She grew up in an old-fashioned family, my grandpa had multiple jobs to provide for his household while my grandmother stayed home and took care of my mother. So when my mother got pregnant she imagined herself doing the same, she quit her job and was prepared to live her life as my grandma did, to be the mother she was taught to be. However, it didn’t take long for her to decide that being a mother wasn’t for her, or as she said “staying home to care for me made her go crazy.” After six months of trying to be a stay at home mother she applied for a new job and dropped me off at my grandparents everyday, seeming to be a good mother, providing for her child.
And that’s ok. I mean, I don’t believe that a good mother needs to stay home to take care of her kids, I myself truly love my job and I wouldn’t give up that part of me to become a stay at home mom. Mothers are allowed to work as much as fathers are, but working and providing money may not become a replacement of the love a mother should give to her child.
I remember how my mother always told me to “stop complaining! you have everything you could ever want.” When I was unhappy or asking for her attention, she would always tell me to “think about the poor kids in Africa”, who didn’t have the food, clothes and toys she had given me. For her, there was no need for me to spend time with her, “you have more then enough to play by yourself” and she gave me “all the things I needed”, but she did not consider that I might have needed just her. To make things worse, whenever I couldn’t stop asking for her to notice me, she even threatened to take my toys or clothes and “send them to Africa, to the kids that do appreciate them”, making me believe that I was an unthankful kid, she gave me so much and I was asking for attention, how could I? It sounds silly but it actually did make me feel wrong in asking for my mother’s attention, I mean, she gave me so many things, why wasn’t I just happy with those?
My mother used making money to cover up the fact she just didn’t know how to be my mom, I guess she honestly believed that her money gave me everything I needed as a child. But providing me with just money did not meet my need for a mother, my need to feel warmth, safety, support, acceptance or nurturing was never met by the things she bought me, I have always missed the love of my mother, or any kind of unconditional love. Money can make it seem like you’re a good parent, like your kid is just fine, money is able to fake a kind of motherlove, but unfortunately money is never enough, money can never replace the love a child needs and although it’s nice to not have to worry about the finances when you’re a parent, you should be able to love your child even when there is no money to help you.