A white picket fence, children playing in the background, a dog chasing after them as I cook and clean waiting for my man to come home, has never been a fantasy of mine. This so-called barbie dreamhouse, has never been appealing to me. Never. I have always pictured a gorgeous mansion with glass walls and neutral colors, high ceilings, beautiful floors and an immaculate rag at the centre of my living room. That I would come home at seven pm, take off my stilettos, put down my Birkin bag, let my hair down and head to the kitchen for a glass of wine. But as beautiful as this life seems, it is a sad one and of all the things that I desire from the world, sadness, isn’t a part of them.
One of the things that motherhood is showing me, is that I am never going to be alone. I have my son and he and I, we’re going to be together for a long time. During the highs and the lows, he is my anchor. He keeps me rooted to earth. They say home is where the heart is and that is how I know that the point in my compass, will always point home.
But…I yearn for more. I still want more from life even when my compass calls me home and every time, I dare to dream, I feel selfish. Can I have any of my dreams and still raise my son well? Can I have him and my dreams? Or is my future an endless loop of putting my son first? I prioritize his needs and I always will, but is there room to think of me? You see, parenting for any woman, whether she is single or not, is tricky. You find yourself in uncharted waters and you have to be strong all the time because anything less is a sign of weakness that is directly proportional to being a bad mother. Dozens of women before me, have put their dreams aside to raise their children, sacrifice everything to see their children become everything they never got to be. My mother is no different as I am sure many of yours has a similar story.
It is different here, because I am at a conundrum. I want it all. I want the money and the means to get it. I want the power and the ability to purchase what I want including that mansion with glass walls. But I also want to put my son first and to give him everything that he could possibly want. Everything, that my mother gave me and more. I am at the proverbial crossroad. Do I dare to dream at the cost of my son or do I close my eyes, revel in the moment then open my eyes and forget the dream? Do I relinquish my desires for a better future, and dare I say a greater future as a childish dream, no longer worthwhile to follow or do I take the risk and let what happens be?
Maya Angelou was sexually molested by her mother’s boyfriend when she was sixteen, and she had a son a year later. I shudder just thinking about what was going on in her thoughts. My experience came dangerously close to breaking me, and I am confident that if I had gone through this, I would not have survived. But she bucked the obstacles and did what she needed to do, which sadly or thankfully included prostitution.
She donned many hats; fry cook, singer, and waitress, in an attempt to make the best of what was an impossible situation.
The world today, knows Maya Angelou as a renowned writer and poet. At the very end, she was the epitome of this conundrum. A successful career woman, a feminist and a mother. She replaced those titles she had earlier with much better ones. Were she alive today, I would love an audience with her. A chance to ask her how she overturned her fortunes. How she dared to go after her wildest dreams and still be a mother because at this point, her answers will be very insightful. The longer I wait, the more time goes by and unfortunately, silence too is an answer.
That home with a white picket fence, is very attractive right now because at least, it is someone’s dream. I can dare to dream but the question really is, should I?