Motherhood has a way of taking what you think you know and turning into a lesson in life. For years I have thought that I know best. I know what I am doing. I understand the direction of my life. Arrogantly. Stubbornly and somewhat stupidly, I have forged forth thinking there was something unique and special about me that made other peoples advice mute. But now, as a single mother of three with an nasty marriage and an even uglier divorce under my belt, I’ve started to wonder. What makes me an expert in my life? And if I am so wonderful, who cares? The question has now become… Am I Relevant?
Relevant means to having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand. To afford evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion. I think about that and I wonder. Is that me? Do I have a significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand – as in, motherhood? Do I even have the right to afford evidence to anything pertaining to it? Aren’t I just floundering though it like every other parent on the planet?
Sure, I feel like I have control sometimes. I feel like I arrogantly know what I am doing, just as I did before kids. I care for my kids well, I love them more than anyone else ever possibly could, and I try to show them how amazing they are to me every single day. They are on a schedule, have an understanding of the rules – and a clever understanding of how to bend them – and they love and respect others.
But I also wonder, for really the first time in my life, if I am doing it right. Is making kindness toward others the right emphasis to have with them? Should I not brush off the 7 year old eye rolls and 4 year old demands for everything ‘now’? Should those be punishable offenses and I change my tactic to correcting what is wrong instead of celebrating massively what is right?
It seems to me that there are so many more things a parent can do wrong with a child than there are right. It starts before they are even born. The types of births we should have, whether to circumcise a baby boy, formula or breast feeding, how long do we leave them turned around in the car in a car seat. We are barraged with how others do it and what science thinks and what our moms did that we can’t help but fail someone. So it seems a natural tendency to continue to question ourselves, our parenting and our confidence in our beliefs as we are bringing these kids up to be productive adults.
So to question how we are doing, at least for me, seems natural. In fact, parenthood has made me really question everything. Would I be able to stand in front of a room full of moms and give any advice on any topic that I would consider myself an expert on? No. Would I be able to argue a discussion with anther mother on why my way is the right way and hers could improve. No. Would I stand to the death protecting my children from everything from bullies to crime to broken hearts? YES. That is the only thing I am really sure of.
No, I am not relevant by proper definition. I have to let that sink in and understand it in order for me to grow from it. I find it hard to believe anyone would listed to me in an ‘expert’ status on anything about raising children. But that does not take away from the truth that, no matter what, I am a very proud mom of three daughter’s who are extremely proud to have me.
Motherhood has taught me that I don’t know everything. In fact, it has driven home that I know very little about some things at all. It has also shown me that my belief that I am unique and special is not arrogant. It is truth. The lessons I am learning from these three girls are the best lessons of my life. And only I get to learn them from these children. They are the ones that have made me feel alive, human and appreciative like I have never experienced before.
I may not know what I am doing with my life anymore. But I know I have the best people to figure it out with in my girls.
That makes me more than relevant.
It makes me significant.