Millennial Mother Mondays — Becoming Mom

Mondays are for the Millennial Mothers (and dads too. And aunts and uncles, grandparents and friends. It’s just more alliterative this way…) We are raising kids at the start of a new millennium. What are we doing? What are the challenges, old and new? Are we different from, or turning into, our own mothers?

Post a reply in the comments. Or write in your own blog and leave a link in the comments. Invite your friends to join in.

This week’s theme: Becoming Mom

(You can read my thoughts below, or  you can read this, which is honest and hysterical and I couldn’t have put it better myself.)

I sometimes tell my eldest child, to his surprise, that he made me a mother. At five, it’s a thing he hasn’t thought about and, depending on his mood, he either tolerantly asks me questions or changes the subject to something related to Japanese cartoons.

It’s true. As my first child, he did make me a mother. And yet…

I have a secret. I didn’t really feel like a mother until I had my second child and had to start acting like one.

With one child, for the first couple of years at least, I felt like a girl with the best toy in the world. It was cute, it was entertaining, it sucked up all my free time and everyone else wanted to play with it too.

My own sister once pointed out how he had me wrapped around his little finger and left unspoken the part that went, “that’s a bad thing, you know.” I heard her words but I didn’t feel it mattered. What else was I to do?

It was only when number 2 came along that I started to have to put my foot down, say ‘no, I can’t do that for you right now’, and that I started to refine my mummy-voice/parade-ground shriek.

Do you have one of those yet?

Some mums do it with a tone, the brilliant ones do it with a look and some with a shriek. I’m afraid I’m a shrieker, although I’m working hard on getting a ‘tone’ because I’ve realized there is only so loud I can shout, and what happens after I’ve reached top volume?

A couple of years before I had my first child, my friend (baking her third at the time) told me that she was trying to find “the tone”. Then she had to explain to me what she meant.

“You know, that tone your mom had that would stop you in your tracks? The one that meant she was Serious and you had pushed it as far as you could safely push it? I need that.”

A while later she told me she had the tone, only now she was appalled to discover that she both looked and sounded like her mother, and that she knew where the wrinkles above her mother’s top lip had come from. She was working on a new way of producing the tone that didn’t invove screwing up her face. (I think she might as well pursue alchemy or the fountain of youth!).

I saw the Mommy Face on my neighbour the other day. She is sweet and funny and smiley as all get-out when we go out for our neighbourhood Mom’s Night Out. Then I saw her dealing with her spirited four year old and her face adopted the stern look of a Mommy Who Means Business. I almost didn’t recognise her, but she looked like everymom. Ilaughed as I watched her turn back to the adults and go through the process of shaking the Mommy Look from her features.

There is sternness that you need to cultivate as your baby grows up and especially if he is followed by siblings. You can’t talk your way out of every situation. Sometimes you need them to do what they are told when they are told to do it. (Like, at the edge of the road.) And I wish I’d done it sooner with my first.

Thank goodness I had a second, who forced me to be a mum, not just a delighted owner of a prized pet. When I realised this, I started to understand why people have larger families. I think that my eldest could stand to learn a little more compromise and cooperation from having a few more siblings demanding my time and attention.

I have had friends ask me what it was like to go from one child to two (since they were contemplating having a second themselves). I said having one child felt like a hobby. Having two was like a full-time job.

I could just as easily have said that it was the first child who made me a mother, but the second who turned me into a mum.

From the livejournal comments:

TheMama says:

You know, I’m not sure if there was an ah-ha moment for me. I will have to think about it.

I do know that I have a mommy moment at least once a day. When TheBoy first learned to say Mummy, I told TheHubby it was like my Hellen Keller moment. TheBoy had broken through. He got it. I was Mummy, he was mine. It was electric.

Now when he first greets me in the morning, he actually shouts “Mummy!” It’s amazing.

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