So what to make of my mother’s life? She left an abusive situation, separated herself from her family, only to find herself in another violent home.
It makes me sad when I think about it, especially since I know it’s the story of so many women.
I think about my mother’s life differently now. Learning about her childhood has helped me to forgive her and see her in a different perspective.
For example, my mother strongly believed that women belonged in the home. She would talk about homemaking being a noble calling. But in my mind, I conflated being a housewife with being abused. For many years, I swore off having children.
I still strongly believe that women have the right to work outside the home if they choose. However, I can now extract my mother from the abuse. I have more respect for the choices she made.
She was right. It is important to create a home. Someone has to do the cooking and the cleaning. Someone has to look after the children. These are the activities that create a family. I was wrong to trivialize what was important to her.
Now that I am older, I consciously try to be more like her, the better part of her. I have taken up knitting, and I have a routine for keeping my home clean even though I work. And of course, I try to be the best parent possible to my son.