Parenting is, of course, the most consuming, challenging and exhausting task that I have ever involved myself in. Some days I ask: "What were we thinking???" And on the other days, I just don't ask. Speaking of "we," I readily admit that marriage is a very close second in this listing of difficult things known to humankind.
Three weeks after my third C-section, I decided to take off my bandage and I was truly horrified. I saw a 2nd incision above my previous C-section scar. What on earth was this OBGYN thinking? I was shocked and angry and really felt violated. I was exhausted and excited to meet my baby, and it really didn't occur to me to remind the doctor on call to cut over my previous C-section. You would think this was common practice and that there were notes in my file about my discussions and expectations for this procedure. Was he careless? Was he disrespectful? Was he in a rush? Was it just easier for him to make a new incision?
There will be lies, false claims and misrepresentations. There will be promises made that might not endure the test of time. Words spoken that will prove to be short-lived and disappointing. Arrangements agreed upon that will not necessarily be followed through. This is the reality of the passage of time and growing up.
Why is there a tendency for daughter-in-laws to have bumpy relationships with mother-in-laws? It's understandable that conflict can arise when two different ideologies collide. Ideologies about child-rearing, domestic chores, finances, "wifely" duties, working outside the home, personal appearance, "husband care" and so on.
Before I had kids, I dreamed about being a stay-at-home mom. I loved the idea of having the whole household under control and making life easy for my husband by rocking the homemaker role. But as it turns out, I am happy in that role about one day per week and otherwise feel totally and utterly stifled.
My mother missed her children's weddings. Missed the birth of her grandchild. In that grand balance up in the sky, measuring who gave and who took, my mother's ledger is a study of injustice. I doubt there has ever been an adult soul who took less, whose footprint was lighter. She never harmed or blasphemed or burdened; she was not perfect, but her faults were small and were her own, never imposing them on others. She deserved more. A lot more.
When mothers are abused their children are also significantly impacted. The abuse ripple-effect is far reaching. Children who witness their mother's abuse can experience learning challenges, behavioural and mental health issues and these long-term effects can extend far into adulthood. The Interval House study also showed the majority of Canadians do not believe that a woman should stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of the children. It is a positive shift that so many Canadians support mothers leaving an abusive relationship, rather than insisting on keeping the family unit intact no matter what.
As a woman and a mother, who has been both a SAHM and working mum, here's a few suggestions as to how you can really repay your beautiful wife. I apologize in advance if you are already doing all of this. You sound like a great guy, so it's quite likely that you are. If you're not, here's what you could do.
Six years ago, my husband Matthew was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiform, the most common and deadliest of brain cancers. As Matthew's primary caregiver, I've come to recognize that coping in the face of a terminal illness is a learned skill, and sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works.
Why is it, everywhere you turn these days, there's a story, post, blog or tweet about women having babies, trying to have babies, or what to do now that said baby is born. And why is it, when we've come so far from the burning of the bras, that the conversation has only shifted from stay-at-home mums to having-it-all mums?
Did you ever see Toy Story 3? The kids licking toys, licking each other, sticking fingers in offensive places not on their own bodies? All true. They will get colds every other week, are constantly on antibiotics, and require multiple trips to the doctor or emergency room because they didn't have the decency to get really sick until Friday afternoon of a long weekend.
I could have been there. My son could have giggled for/at David. I don't know. I was yet another harried/perfect professional mum, holding it all together. Prioritizing naps over adult conversation, breastfeeding over tantrums, parenting over intellectual rigour. It would have been fine -- my kids would have been fine -- had I stayed that day.
How many of us knew that we would love our children so much that it would terrify us, but that we would also resent the erosion of our independent personhood, and wonder why our husbands didn't feel similarly eroded? Or how much more often we would dwell on our failures than on our successes as wives and mothers