I feel like so much of what I’m seeing around me lately deals in extremes.
I’m not even talking about the politics. That’s not a book I’m sitting down to write.
Just…extremes. In motherhood especially. So many labels. So many “kinds” of moms. So much side eye at not only those that don’t fall under your label, but also side eye for those who are assumed to be under your label and step “out of line.”
Is there no room for a middle? Surely there has to be. I think if we’re honest, most of us live in the middle: we have the knowledge, we weigh the risks, we gamble just a little with the small things, and honestly, it’s not much of a gamble at all. We pick our battles. Everything doesn’t have to be a battle, right?
If you never step out of line, can you even see where you’re going?
Did the mom generations before us do this, to this extent? I know we live in an age of information, and some of that is incredibly useful, and I’m so grateful for it. But has it perhaps made us a bit too…self-focused? Are we as busy mothering/living as we are worried about what our mothering/life looks like?
I’m not saying I’ve never fallen for this trap; I have. But because it always leaves me feeling like there’s less air to breathe, I try to exist in a place of saving a little room; there’s room for an occasional happy meal with friends at the end of a playdate. There’s room for a lipstick that isn’t on the “green” list. There’s room for hover, there’s room for free range. There’s room for tiger momming and there’s room for…bunny momming(?). There’s room for organic kale chips and there’s room for those sour peach ring things from the gas station. There’s room for GK Chesterson and there’s room for glossy magazines. There’s even room for screens.
It can’t all be about staying contained in some box, self-made or imposed by others, can it? I hope not. Nothing I believe about God, other people, or my time on this earth tells me so. Nothing about what we’ve lived these past few years tells me so. I refuse to mother from rigidity or fear. I refuse to live from that place, hacking off the less uniform pieces of myself because they may not “fit,” or clash with another. If they do, they do. I jokingly say I am many things, usually when I am being difficult and fully realize it, but in truth, we all are many things. Maybe we would do well to give ourselves permission to actually be all of them.