I always wondered what being a mom felt like.
I mean, I still feel like me; I don’t think my identity as a person has changed. I still like the things I like and hate the things I hate. I still have the same job and I still drive my husband crazy and I still obsessively redecorate our apartment. But there’s this whole, gigantic new part of me that I’ve given to a little person. A person I created. A person I would literally give my life for.
Maybe that’s what being a mom is.
And it’s not something you can ever imagine before you actually become a mom. Or a dad, I’d guess. You think you can imagine, but really, you can’t. It’s a love so unfathomably real that it’s impossible to know what it feels like until you have it.
There’s a lot about parenting that you just don’t know until you know.
You can’t ever imagine how much you will want two different things, that are so polar opposite from one another, at the same time and then not at all. Like wanting your son to grow up so you can experience all of his milestones, yet wanting him to stay little forever. Like feeling like he’s on you (whether your lap, your boob, sleeping on your chest) ALL DAY, but when you can finally put him down for a nap, you won’t want to. It’s feeling like breastfeeding is the greatest gift you can give your child, the ability to nurture another human being through your own body, but hating it, and how it controls your time, your wardrobe, what you can eat and drink at the same time. Seriously, I’m still really missing having as much wine as I want!!
There’s growth spurts and fussiness and reflux and sleepless nights that make you question whether something is wrong with you or your milk production or even with your child. There’s all of these weird but normal things that you don’t understand, like their breathing patterns, and when they roll their eyes back, or flail their bodies because they can’t control themselves yet. And there’s all of these choices that are just made for you, like what you can wear to make feeding easier, and how long your hair and nails can be. And whether you can go out…the answer is probably no.
You’ll get stir crazy and question your sanity or ability to actually nurture another person day in and day out. But then you’ll watch him sleep or smile or laugh and he’s just this perfect little angel. An angel that you created.
How is that even possible? But it is. And it’s the greatest thing ever. It keeps you going.
I’m not really sure what all of this has to do with Mother’s Day. Maybe nothing…but maybe, probably everything. Because I think that when your child is born, your identity as a mother is too. Maybe Mother’s Day is this beautiful chance to recognize that part of your own mother, or your spouse, or friend, or even yourself.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful moms out there, especially my own! Thank you for teaching me, without even realizing, how to be what I think is a good mother.