I will get to the fruit part later. My husband and I are trying to launch our last adult child into this pandemic and panic stricken, anxiety filled world. Granted, we have been at this for quite some time, he is almost 22. Now, it just seems even harder with less options and fewer opportunities than before.
Our son appears to lack even the smallest modicum of motivation to leave. We have encouraged, supported, cajoled, begged, bribed, manipulated, prayed (many prayers), taken away prized possessions and outlets (internet, resources, and keys) to no avail. He remains firmly ensconced in our house. As a mother, according to society, I have failed.
Somewhere along the line, I have failed to teach my son the importance of being a productive member of society. Learning the importance of living on your own. Finding and having a job that will support you and eventually a family. Making your own mistakes and learning from them. Oh, I know logically, I am not a total failure as we have already successfully launched two children into society who are doing well despite my recent failure with my last one.
The judgements just sit hard as we deal with our own emotional struggle. To be fair, our son has his own part in this play. He is an adult and can make his own choices, but society is a difficult stage to stand on with a wide range of critics ready and all too willing to give you their opinion of your performance, and I failed him.
As a mental health provider working with moms who are struggling with perinatal depression, I often sit in the pit of depression with them struggling with the same thoughts of failure. In today’s world, information is found at the tip of our fingers. Information that is filled with personal experiences and opinions that may not be based on professional knowledge.
Young, new mothers often rely on the internet as their main source of child rearing information and when they cannot live up what was seen on the Internet or Facebook, they feel like they have somehow failed. Has motherhood become a competition? If one does not live up to societies standard of the perfect mother, have they failed? Competition is used as a way to evaluate ourselves to see if we measure up against other moms. In the case of motherhood, however, here is where the fruit part comes in.
To steal a line from one of my favorite movies, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “we are all fruit.” (For those of you who are not familiar with this movie watch it; it’s a classic!) In this movie, a father comes to the realization that even though we are different, we are all the same.
We are each a fruit who lives in our own orchard that have various needs to help it grow and be sustainable and successful. Each fruit has different needs such as the banana tree needs to be in a tropical climate to thrive. The mango tree should not be in direct sunlight but needs bright light 6-8 hours a day. Lime trees cannot tolerate salty soil and apple trees need a ph balance of 6-7 to have a plentiful harvest yield.
Mothers share the same moniker, and we have similar struggles, but our lives are different with quite different challenges. Each family is unique with their own special challenges and trials they face living in their own orchard with experiences to share. If they don’t live up to the shared experiences of others does that make them a failure? Not in my book. So the next time you see a fruit, think of your own orchard and what it needs to thrive.