One Day I Will…

We look to our mothers. As women, I mean. We look to our mothers to see what being a woman is all about, what’s going to happen when we grow up, what our place in the world might one day look like. Little girls with too big handbags on one shoulder, a playphone tucked under our ears as we stir fake soup on a tiny version of the kitchen we beg for treats in. We take everything in, and learn silently how to hold ourselves, how to talk and argue back and reason and pick our battles. How to care and nurture and go out to work and build a home.

But what happens if what we’re looking at is intrinsically flawed? If that formative relationship is poisonous instead of restorative? You want to find a life-long partnership and your mother insists on being hopelessly alone. You want to create a career which you love, but your mother never loved a thing in her life. You can’t imagine a future where your children don’t mean everything to you, but your mother doesn’t know the first thing about you or your siblings. Who should you look to then?

I don’t know about you, but I look to my daughter. This week is Mothers Day, and International Womens Day too. So many people seem to feel that they can’t be feminists, or worse still, that they are somehow ‘bad’ feminists because their main focus is on being a mother. Whether you choose to work at home or out, have kids or not, wear red lipstick and thigh high boots or dungarees and army boots, I wish more women understood that simply to support each others choices and freedoms is to be a feminist.

“My mother taught me…” “My mother showed me..” I won’t pretend I don’t envy the strong and smart women around me who have been given their confidence in feminism as an inheritance. Passed down, from one generation to the next. My feminism is uglier than that, more awkward, self-made. But there’s something pretty special about that too. I’m creating something brand new, something I never had. I was told quite plainly by the woman who should have made me feel invincible, that “It’s only natural to love your sons more than you love your daughters.” So how could I help but feel somehow inferior? Almost.. unwanted.

And yet, this year on Mothers Day, and this year on International Womens Day, for the first time I have a daughter of my own. A daughter I love so much I sometimes think I might squish her little face off. A daughter I want to inherit not just my feminism, but the whole wide world too. A daughter who I want to feel invincible.

So I look to her. I look to her despite my gaze being dragged towards the past more often than I’d like. I look back to her every time I forget that I’m not inferior. I look to her to decide what my place in the world should look like, what being a woman should be all about. I look to her so that ‘One Day I Will’ see her looking back at me.




One thought on “One Day I Will…

  1. Daughters do not always understand or automatically bond with their mothers. Like sons turn to their mothers daughters turn to their fathers. In later years the emptiness a daughter feels when she realises she does not have that bond with her mother it is mitigated by her father. If her father is not there it is heartbreaking because all the daughters love was given to the father, and the mother who poured everything into the daughter, her heart and soul, was left unrecognised. A child is blind to everything except the love it feels, right and wrong do not come into the equation. The little girl feels what she feels and she feels that the mother is always in the wrong and the father is everything. Usually this passes when the little girl grows up but sometimes it doesn’t. Her mindset cant be changed and she cannot ever see the truth that her mother loves her immensely and gave her everything. She cannot see that if she looks at things in reverse her actions of bonding only with her father have done equal if not more harm to the mother who has been left with nothing. From the point of view of a mother I have had a lifetime to ask myself if such a shattered relationship can ever be completely fixed. I feel if the daughter cannot acknowledge the truth of her mothers love and devotion in her early life and still believes it did not exist it will be very difficult. Sometimes things said are very badly misunderstood, especially the part about mothers and sons and daughters and fathers. We love our children equally there is no difference we would die for all of them. We have 5 fingers on our hand and we may use one more than the other but we need them all. Whichever was missing we would feel its loss immensely. Elisheva your daughter idealises her father your son adores you. that will morph healthily into equal love for you both as they grow. Your daughter will be your friend and confidante. Circumstances bad luck call it what you will stopped that happening for you and your mother. I am sure that like all the other mothers facing the same circumstances as she did , she did the best she could and gave you her all until she had nothing left because she was broken and her voice was unrecognised and lost in the darkness.
    You are a brilliant mother and your children thrive with your care and devotion. They have 2 loving parents who love each other. They will never know what it is like to have the issues you and your mother face. So go forward with a strong heart and love the life you have. You are a good person and so I am sure is your mother. You are just both somehow missing each other on your pathways and cant find a way to join up and connect. Tolerance forgiveness understanding and the will to finally grow together are the only way forward while there is still a little time left.

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