Everyone has his or her own ideas about what it means to be a mother, or what it feels like to be a mother.
Some think it means being at home, making cookies, cleaning the house, and making blanket forts.
Others think it means teaching at home, working somewhere else, and doing laundry in between chasing a naughty toddler around.
Some thinks it means doing what you can to pay the bills, while lovingly squeezing up minutes of her child’s time.
Whatever the location, the definition and job description embodies guilt.
Guilt you’re not making money at home. Guilt you’re not at home, and you’re making money.
Some mother alone, others with a partner, and others alone, yet with a partner…and some mother with another mother…and some Mother with an extended family.
Mothering can be amazing, awful, anxiety-producing, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, boring, loving, irritating, tiring, and impatient.
We think it will be one way and we will behave in a particular manner up until the time a baby is in our arms, and then we realize that all our armchair parenting was a load of crap. That we know nothing, and that we still know nothing.
That we love our child/children, yet he or she perplexes us to the same degree. That we want them to be like us, yet we also hope they won’t be.
We have idealized images in our mind, and then when we fall short, we are victim to our own guilt.
Society has ideas about how we should be of how we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do, and when we aren’t that way, we feel helpless, worthless, and unsure.
When we are how we think we should be, we feel amazing, unstoppable, and a bit too proud. We sometimes forget when we see another mother screwing up, how we did too…just the other day–hour–or minute.
We champion other mothers, yet we inspect them and hold them, deciding if they mother the way we do–if it’s good enough, forgetting that we fall short all the time.
We long to mother, and then fear we are no good.
We become a mother, and then long for the days sometimes when we were just ourselves. Just our name, and not “someone else’s mommy.”
All those Facebook memes about how we are all so happy to give up sleeping in and wearing ponytails, seem like a load of shit to us silently, because we certainly are sick of wearing our hair in a ponytail sometimes, and we want to sleep in. We love our children, but we miss our non-mothering self at times.
We try to remember what that was like, yet we can’t fully. We have photos, flashbacks, and videos to remind us…certainly we can envision that non-child person, yet we can never be her again fully. We have to be a different version of ourselves. Better. Smarter. More Patient.
We enter into new sexual territory. Some of us could care less about sex, others long for it…and miss the days when we didn’t fit as neatly into the box labeled Madonna or whore. Some of us wish it would go away at times, and others don’t want to be the soccer mom that young men say, “Yes maam,” to on a daily basis.
Some of us are still heavy from pregnancy, others are fit, and yet our bodies whether sightly or unsightly to ourselves, are somewhat different. It has done something it never did before.
We have done something we have never done before.
Every day is a learning process. Parenting is learning on the job. Prepare to fail, and plan to succeed.