I Thought Having Kids Would Make Me a “Mom”

Before having kids, I always I figured I was relatively well prepared for parenting. My brother was born when I was 12, so by the end of teenagehood, I’d changed seemingly endless diapers, done voluminous baby laundry, put my brother to bed countless times, and seen all the stages of development from birth through toddler up close and personal. I even babysat my brother when he was in kindergarten for a whole week while my parents went on a cruise – during my last week of high school exams, no less (so stress and sleep deprivation were even included!). By the time they got home, I was super ready to not be the “mom” anymore, but I felt prepared to be one someday.

But I realize lately I’ve been holding on to one expectation about motherhood through the births of two children that has still not been fulfilled… and maybe it never will be. 

housewife-mrrobertwadewadey-185x185I expected that having kids would make me a “mom.” I mean this in the sense that I thought it would make me a better “woman” in certain stereotypical ways. That it would finally make me a good cook, or finally make me motivated to do all those home decor projects I’d always admired. That my nurturing a tiny human would make my latent green thumb kick in and I’d suddenly find creating and maintaining a garden comparatively easy. But none of this happened. Sure, maybe I’m a bit more organized, less messy, simply because there are toys everywhere and books everywhere and so it’s a little more important to keep the clutter at bay for my own sanity. But I haven’t seen the sudden, involuntary changes I thought would happen in some hormonal overhaul.

Instead, it seems that I’ve simply added the title “mom” to the person I always was. I’m the mom who lets her clothes pile up beside the bed instead of hanging them up each night, and then goes through the pile every few days (kids’ clothes are easier because they’re always dirty so their pile is just in the laundry bin). I’m the mom who regularly serves nachos for dinner (hey, I use multigrain tortilla chips and put more vegetables and beans on them now, so that’s progress, right?). I’m the mom who is just fine with long grass in the yard and really relieved that our home’s previous owner did a great job of planting perennials, because I know I’m not going to add anything this summer (or probably next, if I’m being honest). I’m the mom who has grand visions in her head (and on her Pinterest board) for a wonderful, lounge-y space in our backyard, but now that there’s a rug covering the old deck boards, that might be #goodenough for the rest of the summer (maybe next year I’ll get to adding those pillows for extra lounging comfort).

I’ve heard peers all my life describe their mothers against a certain, stereotypical standard. “My mom was the classic mom,” they might say about their mother’s constant supply of delicious baked goods, or “My mom wasn’t Susie homemaker,” they might quip if they brought a lot of Pizza Pockets to school or their Halloween costumes always kind of sucked.

The implication was always that a “mom” was supposed to be good at a select tasks and skills, and I know I’m not really great at any of those areas. As far as I can tell, my best tangible skills as a mom are having impromptu dance parties in the kitchen and reading stories with great voices. I’m hoping I’ll discover some more strengths as my kids get older – you know, hopefully ones that lead to some life skills.  And I know I’ll continue to grow and change as a person, so who knows? Maybe someday I’ll get into DIY project-ing, home maintenance, or cooking, and maybe I’ll pass those skills on to my kidlets, or even be fondly remembered as a “classic” mom.

But if not, that’s okay. What I’m learning is that a “mom” is not something I could have become, because a “mom” is not one type of woman. Rather, any woman who has a child adds her own individual spin on what it is to be a mother.

So I want to hear who YOU are, whether that falls within common expectations or outside of them. Fill in the comments with your own, “I’m the mom who…” below. Mothers, it turns out, are as diverse a group as women are, and that’s something to celebrate.

 

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