Ideal or Idealistic Mother


Becoming a mother was monumental. I had waited 8 years for it to happen and when it did, I was certain that as a developmental therapist, I would be able to handle anything. Many well knowing friends had shared horror stories of how challenging parenting was, but I didn’t buy it.  I knew I’d have challenges, but I also knew I’d waited so long, had a developmental background, and had a fully involved and hands on partner in crime.  I was set.  It was time.  And, then she arrived…

She was beautiful and so easy. She was cranky when she was tired or hungry.  Well, I’m cranky when I’m tired or hungry.  I got it.  She smiled a lot and began giggling early.  My nickname when I was a toddler was “Smiley” so this made sense.  This was even easier than I had assumed it would be!  With my baby on my lap cuddling a bottle, I envisioned her growing older with a love of books, quiet music, and imaginative storytelling. As she grew beyond toddlerhood, I just knew that she would be a little shy, but that I would encourage her and she would learn to be brave.  I knew that as the school years began, she would have a love for school and possibly even pick up a classical instrument (I always loved the sound of a cello) or a cooking class.  We could cook together, she and I. I could see her tiny fingers carefully holding the fruit she attempted to slice with a toddler safety knife that I selected for her use.  

But what that tiny baby in my lap had in store for me was quite different. Without knowing it, my sweet baby girl had a fully laid out plan to kick my ass and change my life in ways I never imagined.  Not with malicious intent, or not even consciously, but just by her mere personality and a fervor for life that she embodied that was quite unlike my own.  

What I realized during those early years, was that I made a mistake. It were as though I innately made reservations at a swanky 5 Star French restaurant…only, when I showed up for my reservation, I willingly sat down at the beautifully set table and realized I was at a Moroccan restaurant.  Even with the best laid plans, my experience was so different than expected.  The music began to elevate in volume and the pace picked up significantly.  I tried to tap my foot along, but couldn’t quite keep up with the beat.  The white table cloth I had expected, was a brilliant collage of bold prints intricately quilted together.  Instead of being provided with a lovely charcuterie plate and glass of Rosé, a large platter of savory kefta kebabs and spicy lamb stew arrived with aromatic spices permeating my nose and accosting my taste buds.  These unexpected flavors and spices caused me to take pause.  When I attempted to cool the heat with a sip of Rosé, I unknowingly took a gulp of a bold red wine.  It took me a moment, but I quickly realized that I actually liked Moroccan.  I just wasn’t expecting it.  I felt a little uncomfortable with the belly dancers moving quickly around the room with swords on their heads and many days, I long for the quiet French restaurant, but I made reservations here and I am learning new things all of the time.  Every second.  Conversations are livelier.  Life is definitely more savory.  

When I think back to what I thought parenting would be like, I laugh. And laugh. And laugh. I can’t think of a time when I’ve found my daughter lying around with a book or relishing a silent moment.  Ever.  But then again, I can’t remember a time when I loved anything more than dancing, laughing, and talking with anyone else.  Ever.  I guess I now prefer the savory Moroccan life…

by Christine Watkins Davies

Read Christine’s blog “I Prefer an Unused Uterus”

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