Motherhood is a lost art. Don’t get me wrong, motherhood has not been forgotten. Little girls grow up playing with dolls, being the “mommy”. There is still a social expectation that if you are a woman you will become a mother. There is still that biological pull, the ticking clock, that hits us all at some point. But the “art“ of being a mother has been lost. The purpose of motherhood, the importance of motherhood, the awesomeness of being a mother is rarely spoken of. Once we get into it, we sit there sleep deprived, trying to figure out what the heck we’re supposed to do with leaky breasts and a screaming newborn, frantically flipping through our pile of parenting books and feeling like we are in way, way, way over our heads. We kind of just walk through motherhood in a daze, rarely enjoying it, rarely understanding it, with a fake smile on our newly-wrinkled faces, never really allowing ourselves to establish our identity as a mother.
I didn’t really become a mother until Baby #3, which I learned is a truly precious gift. With Baby #1, I can remember allowing everyone to tell me what I “should” do. With Baby #2, I remember trying to continue with those things, realizing I was starting this parenting thing ALL over again, and I questioned everything I had ever done. I remember never feeling confident, never feeling comfortable, never feeling like I was doing my best. Then the day came where my son was diagnosed with autism. I sat there with my 17-month-old son and newborn daughter, and thought to myself, “Well, this is certainly going to change things.” I think this was the exact moment I began to grow into motherhood. I would no longer allow anyone else to tell me what to do, and I told myself, “No one knows this baby like I know this baby.” I began growing and learning. I began gaining confidence in my decisions. I began getting comfortable in my role as my child’s protector and advocate. But I still wasn’t fully “there” until my third child.
By Baby #3, I’d begun surrounding myself with women of all different backgrounds, with all different parenting styles because they no longer intimidated me. I no longer felt I had to surround myself with mothers who did everything exactly as I did, because it no longer made me question every decision. Instead, I was able to pick and choose what I did and didn’t want to implement into my own journey of motherhood. And THAT is how you truly become a mother. One day, you wake up and, even though you may have already been in the role of motherhood for 2, 5, or 10 years, something happens and you become a mother. One day you feel powerful. One day you no longer question every single decision you make. One day you grab on to the title of “mother” like it’s a badge of honor. If we had fewer “how-to” books and more real-life support, if we put on fewer masks and had more open and honest conversations, if we weren’t so afraid of learning that we are doing this so dreadfully wrong, we would actually have the freedom to allow ourselves to become a mother.
What point in your parenting journey do you feel like you became a mother?