If I let the number of times I was convinced I have f*cked my children up keep me down, I wouldn’t be here at all.
My children would be motherless.
Because the truth is, I fight this voice in my head that constantly says my children are better off without me. This belief that I am worthless if I can’t be perfect is real. I know it’s a lie, but it still takes a lot of work to live like it is.
And it is damn exhausting.
My therapist says that the bar I set for what I consider good parenting is not only somewhat unrealistic, but very much white-centric. And daaaaaaamn she is right. I didn’t consider how my mothering intersects with my own lived experience as a Pinay daughter growing up in a deeply colonized culture, as a first generation immigrant teenager and now as a mother to Filipina-American daughters living in a very gentrified city.
How could I have even considered that?
I unconsciously worked hard to become assimilated throughout my teens and adulthood. I swallowed up the message of whiteness until I thought it was the core of who I am. I drank that shit up over and over even when it kept poisoning so many parts of me that I am now working hard to heal.
Slowly I am beginning to understand how moving to America has shaped me in ways I didn’t ask for. I’m beginning to understand that my oppression is different from other sisters of color, that I can be complicit in perpetuating oppression to others if I don’t do the work. And now as a mother to two daughters who are going to grow up swimming in the sea of white supremacy, mothering them has become a way of resisting systems designed to condition them to doubt their capacity and diminish their worth.
So between all of that and constantly breaking free of this nagging voice in my head that tells me I am not good enough (in general)…I feel emotionally wasted.
And I just want to give up.
But here’s why I keep going:
I look at my children and I know they don’t deserve this shit. None of our children deserve this shit.
And that maybe my mother, my lola, my lola sa tuhod….maybe they all thought the same when they were close to giving up. So we keep falling flat on our face and we keep picking ourselves up because it all comes full circle. Someone fought hard so I can be here and I’m sure as hell gonna do the same for my daughters.
We just got to learn how to do it together, in all our messiness and shit.
Or they don’t stand a chance.