Fearless. That’s just one of the adjectives I have used in the past to describe myself. I was an extremely outgoing extrovert, who enjoyed traveling the world (with no issues or qualms about it), constantly searching for the next adventure or great business idea. The list of things that intimidated me was a short one, and concerns with current events/news/politics hardly affected me physically or emotionally. It felt easy to make friends and try new things. I had a ton of energy, worked three jobs, and lived by the motto “work hard, play hard.”
Then, I had my daughter and almost every character strength I felt I used to be, packed up their bags and sailed away to live vicariously through some newer, younger, less worn out version of myself in the world.
Being that my daughter was my first, and now my only child, and I was never surrounded by a lot of children growing up (or as an adult for that matter), I didn’t get a lot of the REAL motherly advice new Mamas should be given from veteran Mamas, of which I now proudly call myself. I’m talking REAL. EYE OPENING. RAW. ADVICE.
For starters- I wish someone had told me that motherhood is like the ultimate identity crisis.
That things you never feared before become your greatest fears and end up front and center of every bad day you have as a mommy.
That things you never worried about before now cause you to feel manic and antsy all the time.
That you will second guess every decision you make.
That the news will make you cry, often.
That you will actually turn into a germaphobic helicopter mom who has panic attacks just thinking about stepping on an airplane or a roller coaster, and forgets 5 out of 10 items on her grocery list, every single time. Gone are the days of fulfilling daily needs like a proper adult meal or remembering to shave both legs in the shower (today’s another jeans day, I guess). I remember those good ol’ days of meeting up for social events after work. Now it’s S.O.S. at home: SEND OVER SYRAH because this day went to you-know-where in a hand basket before my child even had breakfast.
I used to pride myself on being very disciplined and timely. I also felt that one of my greatest strengths was my attention to detail. Welp, ladies I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s just not the way things are anymore, but I’m learning to surrender to some of this newer, messier identity I’ve been gifted. I’m teaching myself to love all my new traits (like always being late and always having food on my shirt). I’ve also come to expect less free time, social hours, and jaunts on Southwest airlines because Mama does need to be home, and it’s a sacrifice I signed up for…prayed and begged for, now that I recall.
I have what I always wanted- a child of my own and a full life of which I’m grateful for. But it still makes me sigh because we want so badly as moms to have all our ducks in a row and feel like we can manage changes, careers, home economics, family and relationships without having any hiccups, but the reality is is that being a mom is the toughest job on the planet with a really bumpy path. It comes with a whole lotta hiccups and new sets of rules, feelings, and emotions that even if someone had told you about, you still could never prepare yourself for.
But you know, we also have something else to consider.
That even with the new Motherhood identity, we’re perfect and enough just the way we are. Yes, we’ve changed physically and emotionally, made a lot of sacrifices to have what we have, and most days it all feels too messy, too scary or too heavy, but I’m convinced now that it’s just WE finally becoming the best versions of ourselves because WE ARE moms. Our hearts are bigger and more open than they ever were before. We’re aware of things happening in the world and making changes to make a difference in our future and the future of our children. We are accomplishing more as working moms and stay at home moms then we ever imagined we could do, and that’s powerful stuff. We look at little things the child-less versions of ourselves took for granted or never cared to notice before. For me it’s the beauty of my daughter’s eye lashes or the way the sunlight hits her curls when she’s swinging outside. Or the way she sleeps with her hand rested on my face and the loving feeling that there’s no better place in the world in that moment. I love the pride she takes in her artwork or how excited she gets over “discovering” new things. I mean, the first time she realized what a sand crab was at the beach, she showed them to me for an hour as if they were new to the whole world and new to me too. I think the last time I laughed or smiled like that for an entire hour was when I was a child.
It’s a sacrifice, this whole new crazy persona we’ve taken on, but we’ve earned an amazing title because of it: Mommy. And in the end the gifts that come with being a mom can’t be compared to anything else. Rest assured we’ll have those bad days when we’re looking around the house wondering how we used to get it all done so quickly. But we also have to remember we have something no one else was gifted on this planet and that’s the love of our little ones and everything they are teaching us, like how to be fearless, and the excitement of discovering sand crabs at the beach for the first time.