“How would you describe yourself as a Mom?”
“An incompetent loser.”
That’s what I wanted to answer.
Instead, I said something along the lines of, “I’m a stay-at-home mom. I was in drug-free labor for almost 20 hours before an emergency c-section. I’m a breastfeeding mom. A baby food-making mom. He doesn’t watch TV. We plan on homeschooling him. Probably starting kindergarten early, in one of those co-ops where he’ll learn Latin.”
I know there was more in my rambling answer. Can’t recall all of it right now.
I don’t know what she was actually expecting me to say, but I’m sure my checklist made no sense.
I had learned early on in the Mom Community to define myself by choices. These topics filled magazines, blogs, and Facebook forums. Birth, sleeping, feeding, free time. Everyone had an opinion. And it stressed me out.
I was a new mom, with a fantastic support system, but I thought everyone was doing this mom thing better than I was. Graham was a difficult baby. Sleep eluded us. He was a frequent cluster nurser. He was strong-willed. I spent his first 8 months of life trying to figure out what I had done wrong.
I hadn’t done anything wrong. Except the part where I was trying to control another human with his own desires. I hadn’t yet learned the difference between control and guidance. Breaking versus molding.
In that moment, I tried to define my motherhood by some choices I had made. And decisions we would make years down the road. Trying to fit into a strange box of motherhood.
It’s comical how experience changes you. How other kids change you. I spent a few years talking about homeschooling Graham early. Then we started him at the normal time. We didn’t join a co-op. He knows zero Latin. My kids watch lots of TV. Adelaide goes to public school. My girls ate homemade baby food, those pouch things, and jarred food. I’m about to have my 4th and final c-section.
What would my answer be now?
“I’m a mom of 6 kids, with 4 surviving. I’m learning to enjoy all these different seasons, including the really hard ones. I’m taking this thing one day at a time. Past that, I have no idea.”
And that’s okay.