Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Becoming a Mother

With Mother's Day coming up, I've got motherhood on the brain.

Before I had kids I worked at the DA's office as a prosecutor. I saw issues in black and white. Right and wrong. I thought I knew everything. I came down hard on drug offenders, I was disgusted by sex offenders and I showed no mercy for juvenile defendants who came from bad homes. I was tough and ticked off a lot of the time.

When I gave birth to Luke, my world shifted. I slowly became a nicer, softer person. I lost the desire to go back to work. I started to see defendants that I had previously prosecuted through a mother's eyes. My heart ached for the moms of the juvenile defendants who sat quietly in the back of the courtroom. When I was working, I always thought the worst thing in the world would be to have a child victimized. While I still think that, (and I trust no one) I think it would be harder to be the mother of a child who victimized another person.

I can no longer watch datelines on bullying, hazing and other terrible practices because I now think of my own kids and how devastating that would be as a parent. In short, the world is much scarier when you think of your own kids out there in it.

I didn't mean to get all serious on this post, but I guess my point is that motherhood changes women, probably more so than fatherhood changes men. The way a mother feels about her child is universal; it is instant love. I think of the mothers in the Tsunami who had their children ripped from their arms and how powerless and desperate they must have felt. I often play out scenarious in my head. If I was attacked, would I fight, would I survive? I have no doubt in my mind that if I was protecting my children, I would fight to the death. That is a mother's love.

I love my kids. They drive me crazy but I am a different person, a better person because of them.

14 comments:

Kelly said...

Perfect stated.

Ashley said...

I love this post. That newborn little Dino is delicious. You make a good point about how sad it would be to have a child victimize someone. I often think about how I would try to save my kids in various perilous situations, "what if this bridge collapes, how will I get them out of their carseats," "what if we have to evacuate the plane, should I carry them both myself or pass one off." Bless the poor mothers who have had to lose a child or watch a child suffer. I can't imagine the nightmare that would be.

Sorry for the fatalistic comment.

Lori said...

This blog is really touching me! I have often thought of the tsunami scenario and it always brings tears to my eyes. It is the ultimate nightmare to me to have your kids in your arms with water literally ripping them away. Plus, there is no clear way to imagine sacrificing yourself to save the kids. Isn't that what quiets nightmares like that?

Anyway..
No matter what you say from time to time, you are a GREAT mom, Brooke. I can see it because your kids are so happy! They are all darling and I miss being right down the street from them so I can see Luke and Sam out on their bikes!

Linde said...

I know what you mean...even though I worked with kids for 20 years, being a mother changes the perspective a bit.

I reflect back on if I was back working now how I might do some things a little bit differently because of a new perspective.

Anonymous said...

In regards to your days as a prosecutor: it is easy to write off a child when the blame actually falls on the parents. If a child is a delinquent or a sex offender it is usually because they've learned it from their parents or another adult--and have been victims themselves. When they victimize other children it's truly hard to be compassionate, there's no denying that, and justice has to be served. However you are right--seeing people through a mother's eyes would probably make the difference in how harshly we judge others.

Thanks for the nice post.

Sam said...

So am I supposed to get you a gun for Mother's Day?

Amy said...

Dito!

brooke said...

Anonymous,

I know too well the reason that kids are in the system--bad homes, parents that don't care, etc. and I agree with you that the cycle of abuse is really sad--perpetrators usually were once victims themselves. I grateful that the purpose of the juvenile system is to rehabilitate, not punish, especially for the sex offenders.

I guess the point of my post was to say that I have more compassion on defendants now that I see them as somebody's child. I even feel worse for the juveniles because I know how much I do for my kids and I know there is no one doing that for most of them and they don't have a chance.

I appreciate your comment!

Reximus said...

Brookie, would you still fight to the death if you were being attacked by a flock of seagulls? What about a very large pelican? A murder of crows perhaps?

Elizabeth Brooks said...

Great post...
There is a quote about motherhood that goes something like once you have a child your heart walks around outside your body (obviously much more poetic than that!) It is so true that after you have children the world becomes a different place, for better and worse.
Elizabeth

Bonnie said...

It surely does change your view of the world. It becomes a much scarier place when you become a mom.

Em said...

This is really beautiful. I so look forward to being a mother one day, although I'm kind of scared as to the depths of emotions I'll be submitted to when my turn comes...it'll be like my mission again. But probably worse. :)

Kimmie said...

I loved Rex's comment....AND, you are a wonderful mother! I have noticed the "softer" Brookie you are talking about...but I love both Brookies! Motherhood is hard, but I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

Jaime said...

Thanks for "getting all serious". I find it hard to put motherhood into words. I usually end up crying. There is no way I would attempt motherhood without the gospel and thank heavens for angels and short memories. I am humbled every day for the chance to be mommy and how awesome that they are our forever. ((sigh)). I can tell you are an amazing mom. Work schmerk - an oft heard motto around here.