Who is that girl I see? Staring straight back at me. When will my reflection show who I am inside? (Mulan)
Before I had kids, I had spunk. I had moxie. I was known for my great (daring?) sense of style, my outgoing personality, and being a generally friendly, fun person. I was vibrant.
This Valentine’s Day, my journey to motherhood is 5 years old. 5 Valentine’s Days ago, I made a romantic dinner, and was too tired to stay awake after that. I found out 2 days later that I was pregnant. Life has never been the same!
I had a baby. This baby liked to be held all the time. This baby liked to be with Mama all the time. This baby liked almost no one but Mama. He is still my moody, sensitive, child. He needs a lot from me, all the time. (My mom probably would
still have said the same about me!) He did everything with me, and went to all of my normal activities with me. Life was good. I was lonely and watched a lot of Netflix, like many moms, but I often could find ways to merge baby into my old life too.
Then he turned 1. I got pregnant. I got tired. It became too hard to do most social things with him, and I hadn’t found where I fit in yet. I began to feel like it was harder and harder to be a part of church, as my little guy wouldn’t go to childcare during church services or bible studies, and he was getting big enough to draw attention. Keeping him quiet/still was exhausting.
I wouldn’t go back to being the me before motherhood. There was so much that I needed to learn and ways I needed to grow…
Motherhood taught me that my body is amazing. Capable of bringing forth life and sustaining it. Protecting it fiercely.
Deployment taught me that I am tough, independent, and that yes… I do have moxie! I moved myself and my two kids across the country and into a new house without my husband. I wasn’t willing to sit around and wait to experience life until my husband came home, even with two babies under 3.
I used to stand out and shine. I was totally comfortable with who I was, embarrassing flaws and all. I remember I used to say, “I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. If they don’t like me, that’s totally fine.”
Since becoming a mother, I feel this intense vulnerability. I no longer embrace myself completely. While motherhood taught me to trust myself and do what I believe is best for our family, it also taught me that being different is not celebrated. You are being judged, for every move you make. Motherhood is intensely personal, and intensely vulnerable, and everyone is doing is right. And everyone is doing it wrong. And you are everyone. And you are no one.
I’m getting to this point in my motherhood … I want to be myself again. I’m tired of being scared. I want a friend to share things with, like I did before motherhood took its toll. I’m tired of feeling like a victim (or a participant?) in the Mommy Wars.
GUESS WHAT MOMMY WARS? I am a person. Not just a Mom.
I’m ready to just like you, or not like you. Let’s be friends, or not. Let’s worship together while our babies are crazy and running around us, or maybe sitting nicely in their freshly pressed khakis (I’ll let you guess which ones are mine…).
I want to have coffee with you, or tea. I just want to be your friend. I don’t care about Mommy Wars.
I am not just a Mom. I am a woman.
I am an extrovert who loves fashion, de-cluttering, decorating, and is generally distractible in public settings.
I am an introvert who loves a good book or will pick up my knitting when I need something to do with my hands.
I will talk your ear off one day and shrink completely into the background the next. I like big group events but don’t feel satisfied unless I made a heart connection with someone there.
God has put a new song in my heart.
You make me brave. You make me brave. You call me out beyond the shore into the waves. You make me brave….
When things get weird with parenting, let’s say GRACE. Let’s agree that whatever it is doesn’t need to be part of our friendship. Let’s say it out loud. Let’s stop assuming judgment is happening when our kids are having a scuffle. If our kids are potty trained different, let’s just move on. It does not. matter. I just want to be your friend!
Motherhood beat the crap out of me. I’m a better woman for it. But now, I’m ready to fight back.
I’m bringing ME back to my motherhood.