Welcome to the May 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Self Love
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about their thoughts concerning self love. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Babywearing.
This week was the 15th anniversary of my mother’s death. My children never met their grandmother, who would have been a fantastic grandmother. I miss her dearly, and still sometimes struggle with the loss. My mother was an amazing woman. She was kind and caring and intelligent. She was creative and artistic. She helped anyone who needed it, and single-handedly spurred a reading program for the entire city. She supported me and always made certain books were available. She was loving and loved. And yet, I don’t think there was a single point in my childhood when she wasn’t depressed.
The depression was understandable. She was in an abusive situation which sent all of my older siblings running far away as soon as they reached the age of majority. She wasn’t living the life she had hoped for or the life she deserved. I understood these things from a very young age, and despite being the youngest by many years, I took on the role of protector, supporter, and nurturer. When I was twelve, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Through surgery, multiple rounds of radiation and chemo, I was there, continuing to take care of her just as I had my entire life. I did go off to college early, but I made certain it was close enough that I could race home in 45 minutes if she needed me. I felt the need to run, just as my siblings had, but I couldn’t shirk my responsibilities. My mother died while I was still a teenager.
I am a lot like my mother. My siblings see it. My husband sees it. Extended relatives know they can count on me just like they counted on her. I take care of everyone still. I inherited many good qualities from my mother, but I have become mindful of this. My mother didn’t take care of herself, and so I had to step in and do it. I was happy to, but I never really was a child. I worry that I might become depressed like her, despite having a loving husband, not struggling to pay for food, and having a support system. It’s a fear that niggles at the back of my mind. I want my children to have long, happy childhoods, free to explore, free to grow, and free to be whatever they want without worrying about me.
So, despite a critical view of myself, I constantly work on doing better about taking care of myself, if not for me, at least for them.