“Mothers” Photo Project – Miriam

When my kids were little, I thought about writing a book called I know Why the 70’s Moms Took Valium. While I didn’t write that book (because I had kids) I still feel like I want to share my misery with others.

Society tells you that being a parent is difficult, they tell you it’s a joy, they tell you it makes life worth living and that the good makes all the negative worth it.

The imperative to have kids is embedded in our media, in language, the traditions spoken about by the elders of our society, and especially in our biology. From a young age, women are given toys that turn motherhood into a game. They are shown movies and are read stories that idealize finding a husband and living “happily ever after”. We are led to believe that our lives are not fulfilled until we have children.

However, society has changed a lot in the past 50 years or so. Today, we move much farther away from our support systems, and are much more isolated than we used to be. Before, people would be able to depend on siblings for childcare, cousins were built in friends for our kids, and we felt much more secure, letting our children run around outside. Now, kids are isolated from one another. They only have their siblings as built-in friends. They say it takes a village, but we no longer live in villages.

Parents of today are exhausted and overwhelmed with the tasks that they have to do on their own. Thankfully, people don’t expect mothers to do quite as much as they used to. Though, for many, work has been added to their plate. In any case, there is still a lot of expectation of what the role of mother is.

Mother means giver of love, nurse, cook, teacher, and so much more. We are encouraged to take time for self-care, but many no longer have the time or means to engage in those activities. We are given advice, such as wake up earlier than the rest of the family to have time for yourself, but we also have to put the kids to bed and then have time with our significant others after that. We are all running on empty. Some people are able to find communities that can help to support them, but that is becoming more and more rare.

When I had just had my second child, I was home and felt so overwhelmed that I called DCF on myself. I am constantly worried that I am traumatizing my children. I feel guilt every time I see them cry, every time I get angry and say something negative or, worse, yell. I feel selfish if I take time to myself which makes self-care less useful.

Recently, when going out, my son asked where I was going. I replied that I was going to see a friend. He then said to me, “Stop having friends.” And yet, when I’m around I can’t get them to talk to me. The highs and lows of my emotions, the constant stress of being ignored, and the other frustrations of parenthood leave me drained, exhausted.

I wonder at times what my life would be like without my children, but I can’t allow the resentments to fester. They are the embodiment of love, utterly exhausted love

4 Replies to ““Mothers” Photo Project – Miriam”

  1. I love the rare honesty of what it is to be a mother so openly portrayed. Beautifully done.

  2. Powerful words, powerful photos. Our world is so unbalanced, so heavy ladden with masculine energy ideologies. It’s time for balance and to bring more feminine energy into our world and into our lives. Thank you for sharing your poignant story and sharing what most think but dare not utter.

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