Reflections on Motherhood, Vol. I
As we approach Mother’s Day—or, as I like to call it, the day I refuse to do any chores and demand flowers from my husband—I think it’s appropriate to reflect on my experience as a mom. It’s difficult to condense the lessons I’ve learned in the almost four years as a parent; they are endless, so here is volume one. Volumes two through 3027 shall follow henceforth.
- Motherhood has turned me into the best version of myself.
I don’t know how else to explain it, other than, since I have become a mother, I’ve liked myself more. It’s feels strange to compliment myself in a public forum, but I’m very proud of the times when I have put the needs of my children first and looked past the gross and disgusting (so much vomit) to come to the aid of my child. That selflessness and outward-looking was not something I did much of before. Those more empathetic, Christ-like qualities have filtered outside of my own family. I find I am nicer and more sincerely compassionate than I ever was before, and I like that about myself.
- Messes can be cleaned.
When Fisher was first learning to feed himself, I would freak out every time he would drop something on the floor. “I JUST CLEANED THAT,” I would fume. Looking back, I truly do not know why I made such a fuss. I made mealtime an unnecessary battle. Now, Cora is learning to feed herself. I am so much more relaxed, and it is glorious. Banana on the floor? Oh well, I’ll wipe it up when she’s done/wait until Dustin comes in the kitchen and make him clean it up. Yogurt in her hair? I’ll put her in the bath when she’s done or just pretend it’s gel and say I styled her hair. NO BIG DEAL. I wish I would have known these things the first time around.
- Yelling solves nothing.
Before I became a mom, I pictured myself as a strict parent. In my head this involved a lot of stern talks and appeals to reason. My kids would come around to my point of view and then we would probably do a freeze frame high five. When those stern talks didn’t work on my two-year-old, and there were no freeze frames, I turned to yelling. But It just didn’t work. He cried. I cried. I would feel terrible, and then the lesson I was trying to teach him would fall on deaf ears because we were all crying too much to learn anything.
- Guilt is the default.
I didn’t realize how much guilt I would feel as a parent. Am I not spending enough time with them? Am I spending too much time with them and not scheduling enough play dates? Do they spend too much time watching TV? Am I doing enough educational activities? Sometimes guilt is useful. Sometimes I really do need to spend more time with my kids, and they need to be watching less TV. But on the whole, guilt is useless. It just distracts from all of the things I’m doing really well.
Motherhood is never something I envisioned for myself, and I especially didn’t envision it happening at 22. But motherhood is one of the most special and rewarding challenges I’ve ever undertaken. My kids mean more to me than I could ever adequately express. They are my heart and my greatest project. The love I have for them is overwhelming and pure. I am so thankful to be their mother.
So all you mommas out there reading this, what have been some of the lessons you’ve learned since becoming a parent?