The Audacity of Motherhood
Audacity: boldness or daring, especially with arrogant disregard for personal safety or the usual conventions; impudence.
It’s time this blog got a proper name. An eponymous blog is all well and good – I do like my own name, after all – especially if you are famous or well known in your field (which clearly I am not) and your name says a lot about you and your website.
My name, as much as I am grateful to my parents (and my husband) for it, does not tell anyone much about what this blog is all about.
But audacity does.
I have been trying to figure out what exactly my message is. What can readers expect from my blog? What can I possibly write that would have interest whatsoever for anyone else?
Over the last two years, I have tried to figure this out. Blogs are inevitably about what the writers are about and I feel that I am about a lot of things, but never one thing in particular. Although I write a lot about my family, I do not dispense parenting advice, offer give-aways or spread strong social or political views. It’s not about travel, or how to raise the best kids or what it is like to live in a foreign country. I touch on all of these things, but none of them are permanent themes.
I have feared for a while that this blog was just a big, damp pile of nothing much in particular.
Then I came across this word I love and I thought, yeah, that’s me. I may not look like it on the outside, but on the inside? I feel wildly audacious.
I became a mother at 20. I was a single parent from the word go and ever since I decided to keep that baby I have been been both defined as a mother and by the unconventional choices I’ve made. I’ve been told what I should be doing – or not doing, as the case may be and, from the beginning, I’ve been ignoring the advice of others and doing it my own way.
Here is some of the things I have been told (ad naseum) over the last two decades:
- You can’t have a baby and finish college (actually, you can).
- You can’t be a single parent in the Catholic church and have your baby baptized (actually, you can).
- You can’t raise a normal, well behaved child without spanking them (hell yes you can!)
- You can’t quit your job and pursue a teaching credential (actually, you can).
- You can’t get married after knowing someone for less than a year and expect that marriage to last (actually, you can).
- You can’t go to law school with three kids in tow (actually, you can).
- You can’t work for a gimongous law firm when you have three young kids (ok – this one is harder, but, given the right circumstances and desire on your part, actually, you can).
- You can’t give birth at home (actually, you can. Unfortunately I didn’t, but I know loads of people who have so I’m including this one in here because I hear this “you can’t do that” all the time and it drives me nuts).
- You can’t homeschool all of your kids – it isn’t good for them or you and anyway, you have too many (numbers notwithstanding, actually, you can).
My whole adult life I have been a mother to first one and then four more wonderful children and from day one, they have inspired me to do things I never thought I could do. I’ve tried things and done things that people said I couldn’t or shouldn’t do because I felt passionately that it was the right thing for my kids and the right way for me. I have thumbed my nose at convention and boldly gone down paths that, as the Robert Frost says, no step had yet turned black. Not every decision has been a resounding success. But when you are a mother, even when you fail, you gotta get right back up and keep on keeping on because you cannot do otherwise.
So this blog is about being a parent in a confusing world where things often do not go as planned. It is about finding out who you are and what your dreams are when you have to worry about helping other people grow into themselves and discover their dreams. It is about ignoring the advice and “wisdom” of others – no matter how caring – and finding your own way in life, especially when that life takes unexpected twists and unplanned for detours.
This blog is about having the audacity to live the best life I can – as a mother, as a wife, and as myself. I don’t know what is around the next bend or what I will decide to write about. I’ll probably write more about my family, education (at home or otherwise), traveling, moving, being a doula, spirituality and anything else that strikes my fancy.
What I do know is that whatever happens, I will be doing my best to live my life boldly and without (much) regard for what other people think I should do – or not do. It doesn’t mean I’m going to go all flamboyant and outrageous, although there may be a tattoo in my future, and maybe a radical change or two.
I sure as heck don’t.
And that is what makes it interesting.
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