I’ve seen this phrase floating around the internet recently : “I was a perfect mom until I had kids”.
Seriously though, it’s been hard to come to terms with the disparity between the mom I thought I I wanted or planned on being, and the mom I really am. It’s been a tough journey with some mom identity crisis’ along the way.
When I reflected, planned etc. on what motherhood would look like for me, what type of mom I wanted to be etc. I did not factor one very important thing: my kids. See mothers are shaped, formed, created not of their own making. It’s not like a career or a Instagram post-where everything can be filtered or staged or looks good on a resume.
The type of children I have, their needs, their personalities help to shape the type of mom I am and am becoming. I am boy-mom to spirited, creative, curious, perceptive, sensitive, persistent, high energy little boys that keep me on my toes.
Who I am as a mother has been shaped by my experiences and my relationships with other moms and my own children. The types of pregnancies I had, the birth experiences, the types of bonding and feeding with babies and so on. Each of these in my history, each struggle and triumph and has and is shaping my identity as a mom.
I also know that my mom identity, the labels I define my motherhood with, will shift and change over the years as well. Right now I am a mom to a preschooler and a older baby/toddler, a mom to two kids, with very different needs. As my children get older and develop interests and hobbies my role as mom will change too: I foresee a sports mom and/or some sort of music mom and/or some of the club mom to be added to the list at some point.
Part of my motherhood is how I define my work/career and balance that with motherhood responsibilities as well. I am a stay-at-home mom, a work-from-home mom, I’ve been a home-school mom too and volunteering mom.
Another connecting point is my own personality and that intersects with my mom identity. I am an introverted highly sensitive mom, a type A personality that struggles with perfectionism mom too. All of this contributes to my perceived view of myself-the version of me that I want to be.
The “me” that I would be or have been pre-children often feels itself colliding with the version of myself that is now as a mom. I feel so much the desire for what I wanted. I wanted to be more organized, my home more clean, my children calmer, my morning routine out the door less chaotic. I wanted my car to not smell like old fast food and spilled milk. I wanted to volunteer at school, turn paperwork on time and not crumpled or peanut butter stained. I wanted to send my son to school with his hair combed and with shoes on the right feet. I wanted to feel and look together at carpool drop off and pick up. I wanted to never get kids (or dogs) names mixed up when I am frustrated and exhausted. I wanted to not be frazzled by multiple demands at once.
But you know what? That not reality. And I need to not beat myself up about it; expecting myself to be a version of “mom” that I am not doesn’t do me any favors. Or anyone else for that matter. Accepting myself for the mom I am, showing myself grace for the areas that I am working on, choosing each day to try and try again matters.
I am the mom that gets on the floor and tickles and wrestles her boys, who joins in on the water gun fight, who sets up forts, tents, and puppets shows in the house out of brooms and chairs. I am the mom that answers the unending questions and curiosity about the world and how it works. I am the mom that hugs and holds when things are just not working out right or we hurt ourselves in our fun and tumbling learning to walk, run, jump. I am the mom that pauses everything to help my son name and express feelings work out apologies and consequences of choices if needed. I am the mom that pours bowl after bowl of goldfish crackers for my high metabolism children with endless energy. I am the mom that pushes the swing outside for what feels like hours, blows bubbles, goes on scavenger hunts. I am the mom that dances the freeze dance, joins in the house marching band, and sings my kids to sleep. I am the mom that never says no to reading a book. I am the mom that writes letters to her kids in her journal and shares her deep thoughts and stories with her boys when they are ready to hear them.
I know I am not perfect and I may not be the mom I thought I would when I stared this journey more than four years ago, or the one I wish I was sometimes when I daydream, or the one I catch myself wishing I was when I end up comparing to what I see on the internet or around me at the playground or carpool. But I am learning to love the mom that I am. Because I know my children love her deeply so I think maybe I should too.