Over the past two years I have worked hard at establishing some healthy boundaries: I am a person first, then a mom. Right? That flew out the window yesterday when, in the middle of a lecture in one of my English classes (I am taking two this semester), my cell phone started vibrating. One vibration means an email or text message. Two means someone is trying to get through, a real phone call. I pull my cell phone out of my pocket as politely as I can and see it is my son’s work calling. I immediately rush out of the classroom to take the call. It might be someone calling to let me know my son was injured or sick and needs assistance. Well, no, not quite. It was one of his managers asking if he could call her back so that he gets his work schedule for the week; apparently there had been a mix-up and my son thought they had scheduled him off.
First there is great relief. Everything is okay. Next there is concern because my son should have gotten his schedule over the weekend. I send off a quick text to his cell phone and slink back into the classroom trying to not to be any more disruptive. At our break (it is a 3-hour class) I call him because he hasn’t responded to my text message (I still cannot seem to convey to my children how important acknowledgement is to communication). Everything is fine, just a mix-up.
Then I realize that no matter what boundaries I have created I am a mom first and foremost. I can’t help it. It just goes with the territory. One time in all of the years we have been parenting our kids I asked my husband to pick up one of the boys from the high school (yep, only one time — it is my job to take care of the kids because I don’t work so I never asked him). Hours later he still had not arrived, the school was closed, dark and son was stranded. Call to husband and he simply states that he hadn’t been able to get away yet. Good grief, why is there such a big difference between responses to the needs of children between moms and dads? I am sure some PhD candidate has done a dissertation on the subject and probably tried to come up with an answer, but I honestly believe it is some kind of connection so deep that it cannot be measured in any quantifiable way. Bonding. Attachment. Connection.
The greater mystery is that it is not reciprocated. I think about my kids all the time, all day long, in everything I do. I doubt my kids think about me much at all unless they need something. I know this sounds awfully cynical, but I remember being their young adult ages and how little I thought about my parents on a daily basis. It is just a fact. We can all admit that it is true. We love our parents, but that psychic and emotional motherly connection is one way most times (and we really want it this way or we get some kind of twisted mama’s boy syndrome going).
So I can say I am a person first, but we all know that it isn’t true. I am a mom first, now and always.