Generally speaking, moms love their kids unconditionally. It takes a lot of sacrifice and effort to raise a child. Before I became a mom, I always thought that “being a mom” is a natural instinct. It’s like a “mom hormone” would be released from your brain as soon as a baby is born. And then you will instantly know how to cook, clean and crochet a colorful sweater. It took me many years to realize that it does not work that way. Most moms have no clue how to “mom” but most babies know exactly how to rock this baby business. [Please google “Adult child living in parents’ basement” as proof of my argument.]
It is actually very scary once I figured out that my mom is just as flawed as me. In my childish mind, my mom knows the answer to everything. My mom can solve anything and will protect me from any unforeseeable disaster. She is a tough woman. In my household, my mom is always the one changing light bulbs and fixing shower heads. My dad is not a handyman and he owns that title (not-a-handyman-man) proudly. But what I didn’t realize before was that my mom was never happy being the tough woman in the house. She would be always complaining while doing all the “dirty” work. It is probably due to that influence, my first ever relationship was with a super capable fixer-upper. He has a passion to fix things and his favorite activity was to visit Canadian Tire and buy discounted tools. But my mom didn’t approve of him. Because based on my mom’s plan, I was supposed to meet a handsome man with a master or PHD degree. But this guy was a college drop out. At the time, I did not listen to my mom and continued to seeing him for a really long time. Till eventually finding out that he is not The One and I made a mistake which almost cost my life (another story). “If you only listened to me” my mom said. This is a very heavy sentence to digest because no one has the ability to go back in time. I can never change what happened in the past thus all the “what ifs” my mom said can only make me feel helpless.
During one of my many therapy sessions with my psychologist, she drew a diagram similar to this. It shows that I was living the life as my mom’s plan when I was younger. Then I started to live on a different path and I was perfectly fine with my adventures till that one major point, aka. me being with my ex. I didn’t listen to my mom and as it turned out, she was right and I suffered tremendously. After that, I started to doubt myself every step of the way. I was torn inside out because my heart wants to chase the life on the purple path but history indicated that I “should” live the green path as how my mom desired. In that life, I am supposed to finish my Master degree (since I cannot marry someone with a Master, I must become a Master.) I am supposed to be 30 lbs less. I should be content with my mediocre job since it is stable. And I should be a better mom because my son is not yet taking any piano lessons.
I am soaked in this constant self-doubt and guilt, as I brought unnecessary suffering to my family. It almost seems like my mental illness was created by…”love”? Love can be so heavy sometimes that it becomes a burden. I am now a mom and there is no doubt that I want the best for my son. However, being a mom is not my only identity. I still need to develop myself and fulfill my own dreams besides taking care of his needs. No matter what I say, he will still go around making those silly mistakes and get bruises. He will probably get heart broken a few times growing up and he might lose a couple of jobs. Sh*t happens in life. All I need to tell him is that I made mistakes too and those bumps in life made my story more tasteful and colorful. Have the courage to live your own purple path! Mistakes or not, it is your own!