Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm a Rabenmutter Pyromaniac

Today I realized that to most Americans I'd be considered what Germans call a "Rabenmutter" (translated Raven Mother), which is not a compliment. Why? you may ask.

As to why a neglectful mother is compared to a raven has to do with the fact that fledgling ravens out of the nest appear helpless and abandoned by their parents, although in reality the ravens continue to feed their young until they're able to fend for themselves.
But nevermind the naturalist explanation -- what did I do to call myself a Rabenmutter?

Well, today was the second Saturdays in a row when I don't have to work, and I was in charge of chauffeuring youngest daughter to her Volleyball game, while hubby had a work-related engagement in Anchortown. So far so good, Youngest and I do some mother-daughter stuff like shopping (she got new shorts!) and then I drive her to her game. So far so good: last week I sat through 1.5 hours of watching her team play (I did bring my knitting).

For those of my readers who know me, you know that being a spectator at a sport is NOT something I enjoy (see my list of 20 Random Things about me) -- in fact, I make a terrible spectator -- I just fail to see the point of competetive sports.
So as I drove Youngest to Volleyball, I asked if she'd mind terribly if I missed some (half?) of her games if I went and got some exercise myself. She said, "No problem!", and I asked twice more if she really didn't mind, and she's cool with it. So I go exercise, which I haven't done in well over a week because my life has been so busy lately-- and the whole time I feel incredibly guilty -- only a Rabenmutter would do that! I hurry back, watch the second half of the games, and all is well -- but I just cannot get over how guilty I felt.

Maybe it's because when Eldest was young, and I was also very busy with 2 small children, I did not do much in the way of "spectating" -- in fact, it did not occur to me then just how important that was to her. I do regret now that now: she felt neglected in that respect. Now I understand that in the American culture, watching and cheering your children on is tantamount to good parenting -- it is EXPECTED that you be there! If you don't, then you obviously don't love and support your kid.!?!

Well, I do feel we're plenty loving and supportive, spending lots of time with our kids -- but it just isn't in the form of spectator sports. We're together almost all evenings and weekends, camp and hike a lot with them, probably spend more quality time with our kids than many sports-crazy families. Every evening we have lengthy discussions over dinner and when we gather as a family before going to bed, but on the outside, we're the parents that don't promote or support them in organized sports. But then the raven parents do take good care of their young -- it just doesn't appear that way to the outside observer.

And where does the pyromaniac come in, you may ask?
We burned some slash in the fire pit this afternoon, and I LOVE to burn slash! I really get into playing with the fire, and I was fascinated tonight when putting on branches from the big cottonwood that fell last fall. The buds were closed, but when I put them on the fire, the heat caused the buds to burst open, showing the green leaves briefly before the fire consumed them (it looked like speeded up photography)...
My clothes and hair smell of woodsmoke, and I love it. That's like perfume to me!


honeypiehorse said...

I don't think you qualify as a Rabenmutter. I know a few, they're not like you.

Kitchen Sister said...

Doesn't the fact that you are aware and feel guilty mean that you aren't a neglectful rabenmutter? It's the moms who sit around in their leather pants drinking tequila who should be worried about whether they're being good mothers or not.

You're right though, when my friends' parents came to cheer their kids on and lend them moral support, I was always happy to see them and they were always nice to me and cheered for me too, but I did feel a bit like a loner who's parents NEVER took time out of their weekend to come for me. When I'd ski, I'd see my friends' parents, and they'd cheer for me, but I knew that I wasn't the reason they were there, they wanted me to do well but they wanted their daughter to do better. Nobody was there just for me, willing me with all their might to pass or keep up with that skier when my own will was faltering.

I knew you were a very busy mother and woman and that sports were not at all a high priority on your lists.It made me sad that I put so much work and effort into sports like skiing, when it was painfully obvious that my family did not care about or value such an important part of my life.

But you never sat around in your leather pants drinking tequila, you paid for my physicals and sports fees, bought me piles of polypropylene, got me home from practice when no one else would, and didn't rap my knuckles too hard when I ate half a pan of brownies before dinner. And you did come to one of my ski meets senior year, I believe it was at East or Bartlett. It made me very happy and feel very special.