There are days I’m still in awe to be a mother. I watch my son run and play around the backyard, and on the inside, I’m saying to myself, “That’s my kid.” Motherhood wasn’t exactly the thing I daydreamed about, and truthfully I didn’t know how I would fit into the role.
I didn’t know if I could be a good mother.
I loved children, but I didn’t experience baby fever. I didn’t make up cute baby names or stuck a pillow under my shirt pretending to have a pregnant belly. It wasn’t on my mind.
Becoming a mother seemed like such a huge responsibility I wasn’t sure I could take on. When observing all the moms around me, I couldn’t see myself playing in the role as naturally as I saw them.
Seeing my sisters and friends as mothers was a front-row seat to what it would take to be a loving mother. I saw how much of themselves they gave to their children. I saw their exhaustion and sometimes stress. I saw the amount of patience they had for their children. The amount of worry and love. Wondering if their little ones are okay and hoping they’re doing a good job at this mothering thing.
Their children became their world and top priority. And to be honest, seeing that scared the crap out of me. I didn’t know if I could be that.
Admittedly, I was pretty selfish pre-motherhood. The idea of putting another life before my own, caring and tending for their wants and needs, pouring into them even when you’re barely running on fuel was a no thanks for me.
I enjoyed my freedom too much. The joy of running a quick errand without having to pack a diaper bag beforehand. The pleasure of wanting to go shopping and not worry about being able to fit the stroller into the big fitting room. The transition to packing snacks, sippy cups, extra diapers, and a changing pad instead of throwing on some jeans, flip flops, and just going.
Conducting my life in my time. That was my concern and what made me question if I could be a good mother. Who will I become? How much of my life will really change? Will I still feel like me?
I didn’t know if I could be a good mother because I feared giving up the life I knew for the unknown. Motherhood doesn’t come with a “How To” book or step by step directions on what to do. It was difficult to see myself transform into a role that wasn’t a one size fits all.
But now, I’m a mother to a very active three-year-old that makes my heart smile just by looking at him.
And sure, the things about motherhood that terrified me before are very true. I spend a lot of time tending to my son, caring for him, worrying about him, balancing a career, and my self-identity. Everything I witnessed before motherhood definitely applied, but I couldn’t be afraid of it when his precious life depended on me. I took a deep breath and jumped into the role as best as I knew how.
My life changed when I became a mother, and so did my perception of motherhood.
The exhaustion, the worry, the fear, the balancing act- it all somehow fits and has molded me to be the good mother I need to be for him. It can be terrifying from the outside looking in. But now that I’m in, doing what I have to do to provide for him comes easily. And that’s what makes me a good mother in his eyes.