One of my favorite children’s songs is “What Kind of Cat Are You?” by Billy Jonas. In this song, Billy’s lyrics ask his audience to think about all the kinds of “cats” in the world – including “KitKats,” “Catechism,” and “Alley Cats.” I love wordplay (it is the English teacher in me) in general, but I also like this song because it reminds me of variety. This Mother’s Day, my children are 5 and 8 years old, respectively. The first few years were honestly kind of a blur of feeding, changing, waking up, and cleaning up. For the first time since becoming a mother, now that my littlest is in kindergarten, I have a little bit of time to take a deep breath and THINK about motherhood instead of just experiencing it day-to-day like some kind of boat ride at sea.
One aspect of living as a nuclear family that has flummoxed me is the isolation of parenthood during a child’s toddler years. Sure, there’s the park and sometimes it is a great way to meet people when you have your kids with you. There is a clear conversation starter. But one’s schedule can no longer be as flexible around friends and family as it was B.C. (before children). Hence, a lot of isolation. When I was lonely I turned often to social media and blog posts to try to be part of the conversation with other parents who were reaching out from their homes. I started to notice a lot of trending binaries. For instance, “stay-at-home parents” vs. “working parents.” I related to both, but neither entirely. I was in graduate school when I was a new parent and then I worked full time and then I worked part-time and now I’m an independent contractor with my own yoga business. Here’s another binary frame, “single parents” vs. “married parents.” My partner and I live and parent together, but he has had years with frequent international travel, half of weekday evenings devoted to work-related responsibilities outside of the home, and I design my schedule around his and the children’s. We’re married, we do many things together like budget, discipline, occasional meals and vacations – but I don’t really feel that we fit neatly into a certain category of co-parenting.
My point is that many of us don’t fit neatly into one category or another. What KIND of mom am I? It doesn’t really matter. I’m just their mom. I’m uniquely, individually, creatively…mom.