When I had my first son, I was prepared for the immense love I would feel. And man did I feel it. But honestly, I don’t think I expected the immense growing pains of inadequacy I would experience as a mom.
Prior to motherhood, I relished in the fact that I was somewhat in control of my own life and ambitions. And I enjoyed setting goals and owning them. (To the degree that any person can really be in control.)
Early Twenties Checklist:
I want to avoid guys that are bad for me. Check.
I want to make quality friends. Check.
I want to give back to my community. Check.
I want to get a master’s degree. Check.
I want to get married. Check.
Then I had my first baby. And my goals continued:
I want to raise the perfect baby…
But after a few weeks of motherhood, I was thrown off my game. Because suddenly that bit of control I had clung to in life was missing. Out the window. Down the diaper genie. Forever frozen in a breastmilk sack.
Make baby take a nap. Huh?
Get baby to enjoy riding in his car seat without crying? Scratching head.
Make baby enjoy sitting by himself while I get dressed? Wait, do babies sit alone?
Get baby to sleep through the night? Still laughing about this one.
As a girl that was used to relying on her own ambition to own a task, I soon realized my ambition of raising a perfect baby through perfect mothering was perfectly driving me to insanity.
And somewhere between reading books that didn’t work and feeling like I was failing one parenting pop quiz after another, I realized one very simple and profound thing that was missing from my life.
A.K.A. Women living the same life as me.
So I went out and made some. ASAP. And suddenly, everything about not having any control seemed to begin making perfect sense. And began to sound so incredibly normal. And very funny actually. :)
As I hung with my new mommy friends, I began asking questions. And continued with more questions. And I began having playdates. And more playdates.
And while doing do, I began watching my friends. And imitating them. And learning what I liked. And learning what I didn’t. And learning what was worth the fight for me in motherhood. And learning what wasn’t. And seeing that there are about 100 different ways to do everything as a mom and there’s no one right way to raise an awesome little baby.
Probably the most important lesson I learned was the reality that what makes an awesome baby isn’t some magical parenting technique. Most babies have strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others-just like adults.
No, what makes an “awesome” baby is the baby.
Not what they do. Or how they act.
Just the precious little baby.
This reality. This realization. It changed me. I stopped acting like a colicky infant. And I just chilled like a baby in a vibrating seat. (Or at least one who enjoys the vibrating seats.) And I felt free. And empowered. And in awe that we can all be so different. Yet we can all be so similar.
I soon learned that motherhood isn’t about perfection. It’s about doing YOUR best. And when you begin watching other moms do their best, you can’t help but admire them for it. Even if their style is different from you. Because you know what drives them is the same thing that drives you. Raising their babies to the best of their abilities.
When I got this. When it really sunk in. The unfun stuff stopped being such a big deal. (Who cares if I have to roll the windows down and sing at the top of my lungs to get him to stop crying if it works?) And the cute stuff became so much more fun. (Look at how sweet his face looks at 3am!)
Because of my friends, I began to find my style. And I began to embrace myself and my methods as a mom. And I realized that good mothering is not about having all the answers. Instead, it’s about growth. Learning. And love. (Maybe we should have a growth chart too?)
So to all my mommy friends. Here’s how I REALLY feel about you. Here’s what I really think about you when your kids act up or when you teach me some new and helpful technique for who knows what?
You are my heroes.
You are my inspiration to be the best I can be. By watching and learning from you, you have helped kick me off my high horse of control. And love what I do.
You helped me rewrite my goal from:
1. Raise the perfect child.
2. Enjoy the journey of motherhood.
And I only hope I can do the same for you. Or that you can find someone who does. Because you deserve it.
And if you feel like you don’t have any mommy friends, just go to the nearest grocery store and head to the diaper aisle. Then get to chatting. I promise you’ll have her at Huggies versus Pampers.
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