Thursday, February 22, 2007

On Mothering

I don't think I've yet figured out what kind of mother I will be.

On the one hand, you have the overprotective zealot moms. The ones who want to ban books from libraries, protest violence and sex in movies and TV, and generally shelter their kids from anything they deem offensive. The kind who have a sort of, My Way Is The Only Way outlook on parenting. These are usually the moms who think spanking is the devil incarnate and the like. They don't really seem to be happy unless they are wrangling to get something banned, taken off their air or edited.

Then, you have the other side of the spectrum. The "cool" moms, who generally let their kids do, say, watch, wear or read anything they want, who don't impose curfews, who let their kids just generally run wild and expect them to learn their own lessons with a minimum of guidance.

Most mothers fall into a kind of gray area between the two, sometimes leaning farther to one side or the other, but mostly just trying to find a balance between sheltering your child from things and letting them find their own way, form their own opinions and beliefs.

This is the kind of mom I hope I turn out to be. In a way, I think it is the hardest, because you have no cut and dried rules for any given situation. There's no dogma in how you cope with situations that arise; each has to be evaluated and a livable (for both of you) conclusion arrived at. You have to look at things and think to yourself, Will this harm my child? Will it affect how he sees himself, or others? Will it cause him to have a biased view? Will it make him think he can walk all over me? Am I trying to shelter him too much, so that he won't be prepared when the big bad world out there comes and knocks him on his ass for the first time? Is he ready for this yet, or should I wait? Do I care what everyone else will say about my decision? Can I deal with their criticism?

So many questions. I'm coming to realize that motherhood seems to be a series of difficult decisions and questions, and it seems like no matter what you decide, you always feel like you made the wrong choice, or are left forever wondering what would have happened if you had gone the other way. If things would have been better, or worse.

I just hope I get through this with both of us in one piece, sane, and reasonably happy.