The previous three years of mothering had turned me into someone that I had not expected to be.
Of course, can any of us really anticipate what motherhood will be like before we become mothers? Until you have grown a human from one cell to a walking talking person using only your own body; until you have looked into that tiny face and realized that nothing else in the world really matters anymore; until you hear a small voice saying "Mommy..."
I learned as I experienced my first pregnancy and later when I studied child development that there are documented changes that occur in the female brain both during pregnancy and after childbirth. There are hormones that sculpt and shape us to respond and care for the helpless little beings that we have been entrusted to raise.
Being someone's mother isn't something you can ever shake. It's not a job you can quit or resign from. It's not a hobby you can put on a shelf and pick up when you have time. It's a change in who you are.
I'll hold off on going any deeper here and get back to the point. If I'm not the kind of mother I thought I would be, what kind of mother am I? Asking this question took me on a journey of self-discovery like nothing I've ever experienced before.
I'm the kind of mother that somewhat strictly monitors what her children eat. The kind of mother who strives to feed them organic, whole foods as much as possible. And the kind of mother who allows her children to eat cookies and brownies for breakfast... hey, as long as they EAT!
I'm the kind of mother who teaches her children about the natural world - how plants grow, what makes the seasons, how to co-exist with animals. And I'm the kind of mother who gives her toddler a smart phone to keep her from screaming while we drive.
I'm the kind of mother who wants to keep her children's greedy gimmes in check, who frequently uses the words need when explaining why I won't buy something. And I'm the kind of mother who says "yes" when her child asks if he could, please, buy those cool spiderman pjs?
I'm the kind of mother who teaches her child critical thinking and problem solving skills asking "why" more times a day than an inquisitive toddler. The kind of mother who wants to limit screen time because it's been show to decrease a child's creative thinking. And I'm the kind of mother who wants to snuggle on the couch and just have a lazy time watching a movie and eating popcorn. The kind of mother who, at the end of her patience, says "how about we just turn on the tv?"
I'm the kind of mother who gives my children what I think they need until they are old enough to stop asking for it. And the kind of mother who encourages independence as early as possible.
I'm the kind of mother who stays calm, who gently explains why we can't go outside without shoes and a jacket when it's snowing outside, who has limitless patience. And I'm the kind of mother who loses her temper and yells in frustration.
I'm the kind of mother who wants to spend every minute of every day with her child, soaking in the wonder and innocence of every stage of life. And the kind of mother who needs to separate, recharge and be in a way I can only be without my children.
I'm the kind of mother who has full arms and a full heart with the two special little ones that I've been blessed with. The kind of mother who wants to focus, fully, on the small family I have. And the kind of mother who would never say no to growing her family.
I'm the kind of mother who receives odd and sometimes disapproving looks as I push my cart, singing and talking to my children in the grocery store. Who wonders if the people around me think my parenting choices are strange, or wrong. And I'm the kind of mother who gives knowing and understanding looks (that are likely perceived as odd or disapproving) to other mothers with young children pushing their carts through the store.
I'm the kind of mother who doesn't want you to call her daughter beautiful and instead focus on her strengths, personality and beautiful soul. And I'm the kind of mother who thinks her daughter is, obviously, the most beautiful creature I've ever seen.
I'm the kind of mother who dresses her children in matching, perfectly tailored clothing from head to toe. And the kind of mother who's children are often running around half-dressed and mis-matched.
|The early days of mothering with a 7 month old Whit|
So what about the other side?
I'm not the kind of mother who has it all together.
I'm not the kind of mother who has it all figured out.
I'm not the kind of mother who knows she's doing it right.
I'm not the kind of mother that thinks I'm doing it better.
No, I'm not that kind of mother.
I'm simply the kind of mother who loves, laughs, and cries with and for her children. The kind of mother who thanks God for every moment I get with them and tries to do her best all the time.
Just like you.