Sunday, January 12, 2003

Wow... Some Really Interesting Opinions...

This comment was left on my blog by someone who I respect a great deal:

"... get over this whole being a mother thing. You are not a Mother untill you have carried a child for nine months, and go through the pain of birth. you're not a mother untill you go through the sleepless nights, the dirty diapers, the teething, the growing pains, the baby's first steps, the baby's first words. It's a growing and bonding process that takes place through the lives of the parent and the child, mainly from birth to the teens. You can't walk into a thirteen year olds life and instantly become a "Mother". You are meerly the girlfriend of her mothers."

Interesting perspective. And, funny enough, I agree. People shouldn't walk into children's lives and assume a role of a "mother" or a "father" and think that everything is hunky dorey. Naturally, giving birth and the bonding process that follows is HUGE and full of honor and respect. I do understand that someone from the outside of my relationship would see it that way, especially someone who has fathered two children and who I hold in high regard as being a good father.

However, I am not merely the "girlfriend" of a woman with a child. I am Sarah's step-mother to be, in exactly 9 months. The bond between Sarah and I is an intense and strong one, and not one I take lightly. I never called myself her "Mother". She has one. I am a mom figure, however, and this responsibility I do NOT take lightly, much as my friend Stephanie who is the stepmother to two wonderful children and who is more of a Mother to them than their own. If birthing a child is criteria for being a "mother" then 30% of parents who adopt aren't Mothers.

Birthing a child doesn't make you a parent any more than making french fries makes you a gourmet chef. It's the love, dedication and willingness to do whatever it takes to help guide and be involved in a child's life. This we both agree on. I am surprised at your venom, but I understand you don't know the daily rituals and routines that have become common in my life when it comes to my new family. I am more involved in her day-to-day than her father. I am the one she comes to when she can't find the words to speak to her own mother and more times than not, I am the one who helps the two of them to communicate and see each other perspective. And soon, I will also become her legal guardian with the ability to make decisions that could help her medically and legally. I have already began a college fund for her to help her in her educational process, and in June, I will be a full-time parent to her.

I am wondering what you would have me do, turn back the clock so that I can change a diaper at 2 am? How about taking her to the doctor when she needed a tetanus shot or holding her while she pukes from the stomach flu or going to her at 6am so that she can have her hair done for a special event at school or staying up until 1am so that we can talk about her intimate and private ideas about wanting to have sex too early and the other things she thinks her mother won't quite understand... I can see how my role is such a small, insignificant one.

I am not negating the role anyone has in their child's life. I am simply ascerting mine. And I will be goddamned if anyone, including you, will tell me I cannot be a mom figure to this little girl. I wasn't there for her first step, her first tooth or any of the things you mentioned, not because I didn't want to be, I simply didn't know her then. But I will be there to help her in decisions about boys, sex, drugs, suicide, friendship and all of those hard-to-reach decisions that will effect the path her life takes.

And, frankly, I would give my life for this child. I can't think of anything more important. No, I won't "get over it". There's been far too much of that in this generation of parents who don't take responsibility for their children.

So, I do agree with you. But by your estimation, partners can't be mothers, adoptive parents can't be mothers, foster parents can't be mothers and anyone that doesn't fit into the "traditional" platform can't be mothers. Wow. It would seem we are a generation of parentless families.


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