A little background on this post. I have been reading Jennifer Weiner’s new book (that I got an advance copy of because I’m cool and work in a bookstore), which is basically about new motherhood. As with her other books, it’s about a lot more than that, but that’s the short version. Anyway, I have also been reading Michelle’s blog, which is about her own childhood. It is because of these readings and my own thoughts on motherhood that I am writing today.
Someday, I will be a mother. It’s true. Not today, probably not for a few years, but someday. And I think about what kind of parent I will be. I think about what kind of father James will be. And in light of discoveries that grown children make about their parents and their childhood, I hope that I will always be honest with my children. I hope that nothing gets so bad that I will have to keep horrible secrets that will scar them for life when they are young, and piss them off even more when they grow up. I hope that I will be open about my life, whatever mistakes I have made, whatever opinions I have had. I hope that I can talk freely with my children about anything and that in turn, they will be able to speak freely with me.
Because I have good examples to follow in my own parents, most of these concerns will probably be voided by the fact that I have tried to live an honest life before having children. My parents were always honest with me. There were some things that I never knew about my family growing up, but it was probably only because I never thought to ask. By the time that I did, I was old enough to understand, to not judge. And I was lucky because there were never any secrets of the kind that tear families apart. I don’t plan on telling my own kids every sordid detail of my past before they’re ten years old, but if asked those personal questions that some kids feel okay asking their moms, well, I hope that I won’t be uncomfortable, flinchy, or make my child think that they have no right to know what kind of person their mother is.
A parent and child are supposed to know each other. The relationship should be one of mutual love and respect. I think that children have a right to know who their parents are, not just in name, but in personality. If I have a problem, I don’t want my children, or my husband for that matter, in the dark, thinking that my actions or attitudes of stress or depression have something to do with them. I would want them to understand, to be there for me, to know that I love them no matter what. That I love my children even now, before they are born or even conceived. And I love my future husband more than I ever thought possible.