Wednesday, April 01, 2009

« A few months ago, my friend David asked me if I thought that it would be possible to travel around the world via blog. "Like Around The World In 80 Days," he said, "but on the Internet. Around the world in 80 clicks. 80 mom-blogger clicks!" "I don't know," I said. "But it sure sounds like a cool thing to try." "Cool. And if you could visit, virtually, moms around the world, what would you want to talk to them about?"

So begins a post over at the blog called « Her Bad Mother ». It is a very good blog, probably a great one, featuring some masterful writing. It’s funny, honest and powerful. So, it is with amazement that I find myself participating in the « 80 clicks project » as a sort of featured co-blogger.

Here’s a bit more from the original post:
« Here's how it's going to work: this post that you're reading? Is the departure lounge. I'm going to link to a couple of other mom bloggers here in Canada, and to a couple of mom bloggers from other countries around the world, and they'll write their posts, sharing 5 things that they love (or maybe what they don't so much love - this playground doesn't force conformity) about being a mom, and then they'll tag a few more bloggers from their own country and from other countries, and so on. And you're more than welcome to join: just write a post of your own (5 things that you love about being a mom) and find someone to link to and tag - someone from your own country, if you like, but definitely someone from another country (Google is a good resource if you don't know any; google any country name and 'mom' in their blog search function) (be sure to let them know that you've tagged them!) - and link back here and leave a comment and we'll add you to the 'itinerary,' which David will compile and post and update as the tour proceeds. »

So, here I am, one of the lucky « couple of mom bloggers from other countries».

What do I love about being a mom? If someone would have given me this writing assignment 11 years ago, when I had a four year old, a two year old , newborn twins and a husband constantly far from home, working in Africa, I would have had a very different list. I was exhausted, sleep-deprived and mostly isolated from adult company. But I still, somehow, adored being a mom. I thought breastfeeding was fun. I loved bathing the babies and dressing them up in tiny clothes. I loved singing to them, talking to them, playing with them and just sitting around watching them sleep.
I really did love everything about it. I was tired, but euphoric.

The only time I ever came close to an "I can‘t do this" moment was when my husband announced we would all be moving to Burkina Faso. Could I be a mom in one of the poorest countries in the world? Could I keep my children healthy and safe? Was this the right thing to do? These were terrible worries and they made my sense of responsibility four these four small lives seem like a huge burden, possibly beyond my capacity to competently manage.
But, of course, it wasn’t.
We all lived and thrived in Ouagadougou. My little ones grew from babies into children. And I learned that there’s more to love about being a mom than I ever imagined.

I’ve mixed the slightly serious in with the very silly, but there you go. Just because it’s silly doesn’t mean it’s not true…

What I love about being a mom:

5. I love that it comes with a title. Some people get called « Mr. President », some go by « Your Majesty ». Good for them.
But me? I’m « Mom ».
When my four tumble through the door after a long day at school, all yelling for Mom to come down out of her « writing garret » and hear about their adventures, my heart leaps. Really.
It’s a title I wear with pride. And yes, it’s one I share with many, many women all over the globe, but that only makes me love it all the more.

4. It’s the best way to meet people. When I first moved to France, friends warned me that the people in remote French mountain villages were invariably suspicious and unfriendly. Slow to warm up, to put it kindly. But all it took was a couple of walks up and down the lane, pushing my baby daughter in her stroller. Fellow moms came pouring out to arrange play dates. Elderly couples came out to coo, admire and invite us in for tea.
The same thing happened when we moved to Burkina Faso. I had just arrived and wanted to find friends, so I herded my four little ones outside and went for a walk. That was all it took. Within minutes, we had new pals galore.
Being a mom means that I have instant icebreakers at my fingertips.
Yes, children are the key to international friendship and understanding.
But we all knew that already, right?

3. There’s always someone to clean out the litter box. Someone who is not me.

2. I love that I can share everything that I love with my kids. Reading "The Hobbit" and "The BFG" to them, watching all the Star Trek movies with them, camping with them, teaching them to crochet, playing "Risk" with them, singing with them, travelling all over the world with them, cooking with them...the list is nearly endless, but it brings me great joy to say to my children: "Hey! I love this. I bet you will, too!" and then embark on another adventure of learning with them.

1. I love that I get to know and be around the four most amazing people I have ever met. I got to hold them as babies, chase them around as toddlers, and shepherd them through the crazy elementary school years. And now I get to listen to their assorted ideas, problems and clever (mostly) jokes, help them with mind-bending home work and watch them all turn into delightful teenagers. Eventually, with any luck, I’ll see them turn into caring and capable adults. This is, without a doubt, absolutely the best thing I could possibly be doing with my life.
How could I not love that?

Now I get to tag a couple of other moms around the world to participate. First of all, we'll go off to sunny Spain to hear what Oreneta has to say on the subject. Then I'll ask Reb to chime in.


La Framéricaine said...

Well, Chère Maman, I will definitely NOT get tagged to participate in this particular blog event. However, it fairly makes my heart burst with emotion just reading about the joys of your motherhood. I could not be happier for you and I think that the sharing of your "mom" stories is absolutely a fantastic idea. Damn! Now you've gone and made me want a baby at the age of 56... Have a wonderful voyage. I'll be looking forward to being introduced to some of the other mothers you meet along the way.


La Framéricaine said...

Oh! I forgot to say just how wonderful I thought all the photos were. And it doesn't surprise me in the least that your husband should have fallen for you like a ton o' bricks. You one damn fine lookin' woman--no offense, just fact!

Beth said...

You, Dear Pam, are like some kind of Blog Angel. How do you always think of so many nice things to write about others...and me in particular? Thank you.

All I can add is: you are smart, thoughtful, kindhearted, and a great writer. And I suspect that you've been a surrogate mom/loving support to many people in your life so far.

David said...

This is excellent, Beth - I'll keep you posted on our progress and make sure you have a virtual roadmap...

Thanks much!

babzee said...

Your thirst for adventure knows no boundaries! May your journey across the CyberGlobe be as fulfilling as your IRL travels, and may your road through Motherhood continue to be as rewarding and enriching as the First Fifteen Years have been. I have good reason to believe this will be the case.

TeacherMommy said...

I just had to come check you out! I grew up in la Cote d'Ivoire, just south of Burkina, in the northern city/town of Ferkessedougou. I visited Ougadougou quite a few times in my childhood! I also spent time in France (Albertville) as a baby, but don't have much of a memory of that. I live in Michigan (USA) now.

I also got tuned in to this Global Mommy thing through Her Bad Mother. Love that woman's blog.

I'm adding you to my blogroll because HEY, love that we share some experiences, however distant in time!


oreneta said...

I am SO in on this....I'll post it probably tomorrow!

Reb said...

I'll get working on this but not sure when I'll get to posting it though! Loved your post!

Karen MEG said...

What a wonderful post. I'm here via Her Bad Mother as well... and you are so right, that children break down barriers and bring you an instant sense of community.

oreneta said...

Got it up!

Tharini said...

Thanks for sharing the link Beth. I didn't realise you had already done it. I loved what you said about your heart leaping out, when you hear your title being called it. It was, for me, such a different way of looking at it!