Responsibility, Accountability And Parenthood

If you are a regular Mysticool Moms reader, you may have noticed that there hasn't been an update for a few months. As the editor, owner, webmaster, and one of the writers, you'd think I could come up with multiple different excuses for not getting the site updated. Unfortunately, I only have myself to blame and my inability to formulate a decent article. It certainly wasn't writer's block, I never even tried to sit down and type. I've been struggling with some personal demons that I touched on a bit at my last article, Selfish or Selfless...Finding the Balance.

I can tell you definitively that I'm not even close to finding the balance yet! I've been doing more analyzing my frustrations and behaviors and I'm attempting to categorize them into "Great Parenting", "Not Perfect but Not Damaging" and "Bad Mommy, Change Behavior/Thoughts".

Once you have children, you are always accountable to them. Before kids, when there was just my spouse, I certainly needed to be accountable to him, but he's an adult and to be honest, I'm just not as important in the same ways to him as I am to my kids. Once you have children, you give up a piece of yourself that you never get back. You always have someone (even an adult child) that you are a mother or father to. When your kids are small, you as the parent are the most important, vital person in their lives. Their very lives are dependent on your caretaking. Even beyond the basic needs (food, shelter, safety) their sense of self, how they see themselves is defined by how you treat them and reflect their own image. As a child you think "I'm good because Mommy thinks I am" or "I'm worthless because Daddy thinks I am".

This responsibility that we parents have is beyond huge. Even for me, who worked in the parenting education field, planned out my pregnancies to the nth degree; quitting my regular job and revamping my career so I could work at home and be with my children, even for me this responsibility is stressful and overwhelming. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed anyways, and so it isn't a stretch to imagine me getting overloaded with two little kids ruling my world. A domestic diva I'm not. I struggle with keeping the house clean, providing healthy meals for my family (especially challenging with kid#2 whose eating habits make me want to shoot myself..since of course I must be responsible...I swear, this subject WILL be one of my upcoming articles). I've been struggling to find myself again through the all-covering (and sometimes smothering) blanket of motherhood. A lot of emotions have suddenly been stirred up in me as my life has changed.

One big change lately has been my looks. I've been working out, losing weight, and toning up for over a year. I drastically changed my hair style and lately added highlights. To be honest, I haven't looked this good (in my opinion) since before my marriage (and that was almost 11 years ago). After I got married, I stopped playing basketball, I gained weight and have considered myself a blob ever since. Being able to look myself in the mirror again and think anything positive has drastically changed my perspective and opened my eyes to many things I haven't thought about in a long time. Things that belong to me, before I was married and before I was a mother. Having these thoughts about my sexuality and attractiveness have been a little incongruent with my role as mother (or pregnant woman) the past 6+ years. I've been distracted enough with these changes that writing an article about being a mother just left me with a blank.

Just because I've been self-obsessed lately doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about my kids though and my interactions and influence on them. I've always known that their happiness and well being was extremely important and now I know that I have to find ways to make me happy again too, not just through them but as an individual person, Heidi. At first I was feeling very selfish (thus the title of my last article) but now that I've had some process time, I know that every parent deals with parenthood, increased responsibility and accountability differently and what I'm going through is OK. It isn't damaging to the kids. If I need to leave the house for 2 hours after my husband gets home to go and veg somewhere by myself, my kids will be fine and my absence will help me appreciate them better and de-stress so I can have the energy and enthusiasm to parent another day.

- Heidi Dearinger

(June 01, 2004)