By Erin Barrette Goodman
Earlier this week, I was having a conversation with my daughter, in which I was pretending to be a bus driver and she was pretending to be my passenger (because walking out the door and getting in the van is nowhere near as fun as standing on the side of the driveway and waiting for a bus!).
As she was boarding the bus, I introduced her to my son (also known as her brother), who was already strapped into his seat. Without missing a beat, she said, “So you’re a bus driver and a mama? Cool.”
Until very recently, it was beyond my daughter’s understanding that you can be a mother and something else, which is understandable considering that for the first four years of her life, I was a full time at-home parent. Any work that I did was done on the fringes of our days – burning the midnight oil to write or sneaking out early on a Saturday morning to teach a yoga class.
I hadn’t thought much about how she was perceiving me and my role until about a year ago when she began announcing that she was “not going to be a mama – just an auntie.” When I asked her why she said matter-of-factly, “Because I’m going to be a veterinarian.”
“You can be a mama and a veterinarian,” I offered as gently as I could, making a mental note to call my friend Dina and plan a visit to her veterinary office ASAP.
“Huh. Well, not me. I’m going to ride a motorcycle to work, to my veterinarian’s office, so I can’t be a mama.”
[This is all happening, by the way, while I am doing internal somersaults trying to make peace with my desire to be a hands-on, at-home parent to my children and pursue my dreams as a writer, yoga teacher and workshop leader, a theme I write about often. See here and here.]
“Oh.” I said. ”Cool. What color is your motorcycle going to be?”
My daughter has a lot of years to design (and redesign) her future and I look forward to supporting her – whatever roads she travels, whatever vehicle she is in – or on.
I’m also very much looking forward to seeing Who does she think she is? this week in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts as I continue to search for the balance that works for me. This feature-length documentary explores the lives of five women artists who are also mothers. In the film, each of the women sustains the competing claims on her heart despite financial hardship, institutional disinterest, and lack of support.
Upcoming screenings include:
Museum of Fine Arts – 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA
January 9, 2009 at 8:15 PM, January 10, 2009 at 1:15 PM, and January 11, 17 and 18, 2009, at 11:00 AM.
Erin Barrette Goodman is a law-of-attraction-inspired yoga teacher, writer, workshop facilitator and mother of two living in Southern Rhode Island. She is the founder of the RI Birth Network (www.ribirth.net), which promotes empowered decision-making during the childbearing years. You can find more of her writing on her blog, exhale. return to center and learn about her workshops on her website, eringoodman.com.