25 Jun 2012

You + Me

You can see the world through the eyes of your child. Or you can see the world "selfishly" only through your eyes. Better see the worlds alternating, I say.
The relationship with our children is a deeply passionate one. And passion is by nature extreme. In a healthy mother-child relationship, love is rather a given. There, present all the time. But love is not the only feeling in this relationship. Don't kid yourself new, experienced or about-to-be mother. Love is the glue, and is needed badly in order to deal with the rest.
I believe motherhood is an experience that stretches the boundaries of who we are. So much so that at times we end up not really knowing who we are, or doubting who we were, puzzled as to who we are becoming. There are days when all a mother wants is to be left alone. Not to deal with demands, crying, diaper change, tantrums, "showing the world", entertaining, being patient, caring and thinking about another. There are many fantasies mothers devise in order to bear their children sometimes. Throwing them off the balcony, packing their suitcase and leaving everything behind, pinning them magically to the sofa or shutting their mouths with tape. And these are "mild ones", more "acceptable" lets say. The truth is that no matter how violent or crazy, or even funny these fantasies are, they provide relief. Relief from agonising everyday, changing from one viewpoint to another minute by minute. I see the world through my eyes, otherwise I will go crazy. I see the world through yours, otherwise you will go crazy. That sums up pretty well the loving battle between you and me. CHILD and mother. MOTHER and child. Two worlds in synch that can range from a feeling of belonging, an absolute unity to a feeling of camaraderie and sharing. Sometimes two worlds colliding where one ego has to win. You AND me becomes then you OR me. What is a mother to do then?
We all know that respect is vital in every kind of relationship. But along with respect, comes individuality, concern for the other, but also concern for the self. It is advised that the mother backs off. Not only because of the role, but because she has a more developed (mature) ego than the child. However there are times when the mother's self feels at peril and then if her own ego is not saved even momentarily, believe me there will be no egos at all around. That is why Winnicott talked about the "good enough" and not the "perfect mother".
We all have bad days. Mother and children. And we should allow ourselves and our children these days. Not doing so is just not being grounded in reality. And if we sometimes need to put ourselves first in order to survive the more immature parts of our personalities and return back to normal, apologising and making reparations, so be it. It is infinitely healthier than striving for perfection or resorting to bottled up anger and acting out later in the most hateful and vindictive ways, psychical absence towards the child being one of them. Just make sure this isn't your daily bread and butter. If it is, then seek help - you are only human.
It comes with the job that we are on "top of it", and being on top of it sometimes means being honest as to what our limits are. Where the ME stops the You begins. But for these two, to dance together whether tango, raving, Zorba-style or hip-hop, there has to be a You and there has to be a Me.

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