“You wanna make God laugh? Tell him your plans for motherhood.”
I’ve never claimed to have it all together because, who am I kidding, that’ll never happen. Life is all about changes and weathering the seasons so if you’re alive, living it out, and, given the fact if you have children and they’re growing, it would make sense that you probably should be too? Right. So here’s what I know about that ‘growth’ part, the parts of me that have some of my shit together.
Whatever stage or season of life you’re in, there will be a preconceived motion of the way things ‘should’ go. That usually entails a set of unwritten and written rules about the dos and don’ts as the main course and a list of criticisms for each as side dishes; some hard to swallow and some difficult to even chew. Some that might sound great but unfortunately they just won’t work for you.
If you live for these motherhood rule books and they’ve worked for you, great!
But for you, who, like me have struggled with people pleasing most of my existence and have driven myself to very low self-esteem over feeling incompetent and unworthy, I’m here to tell you, stop that shit. There’s a better way.
I guess somewhere between my separation with my ex-husband and finding the man of my dreams (and those are just clear-cut defining moments personally), I figured out that listening to myself, my gut, my instincts, served me better than all the other crap people tried to make me believe. The minute (more like weeks, months) I let go of that “baggage” that clouded my own voice, I suddenly felt like a better human, and in turn, a better mother. I felt free! I didn’t beat myself up as much and although I struggled with negative emotions about being a single mom and raising Noah ‘properly’ (whatever the fuck that meant), I knew that motherhood didn’t come with a manual and treating it as such would lead me into a place that wasn’t healthy for me nor my kid. Motherhood is hard enough. So the only real motherly advice I can give to anyone, whether you’re a mother or father is :
Do what works for YOU [and your kid(s), if you’re lucky enough to bear any]. If you are in good shape, mentally especially, your babies will benefit from it more than you can even imagine. Know that you are unique and different and so are your littles, so do yourself and them some justice… don’t just follow what works for everyone else because it just might not be the right fit for you.
I once thought that I needed to be in good physical shape to be able to “keep up” with my growing baby. While that is also true, I quickly learned that more importantly, it was my emotional and mental health that needed to be in the best shape it could be for me to “keep up” with motherhood: the good, the bad, and the holy-shit-what-the-hell-is-this-and-where-do-I-cancel-my-subscription? Yea I said it. There will be times during the course of this beautiful journey of motherhood where you will wonder if you’re any good at this and upon learning that you’re fine, it just must be their genes, you’ll just want to throw the whole kid away. Don’t! Not only are they custom and you can’t get another just like it (I may or may not have tried), I can assure you that in two seconds they’ll be right back to showing you that only YOU are that special to be entrusted with their lives and practically the same moment where it all seems too daunting, too difficult, and just too hard, is the same moment that the divine power of a mother’s love will take over and figure it out.
That easy yet that hard to do.
Momma, you have a gut (like me, probably literally too). Use it.
Work on YOU.
Go for it…Do what’s best for YOU.
You don’t know all the answers and NEWSFLASH! You don’t need them. You need your gut and some faith. And probably a shitload of caffeine and some therapy too. But man, that faith part…
That faith part takes care of the bulk of it.
It was through faith that I got through the tough years of figuring out how I was going to show Noah what family meant after divorce and outside of a traditional married mom and dad scenario.
It was through faith that I rebuild myself as a ‘present’ individual above all else.
It was through faith that I moved on to love again and not only redefine what true love meant for me, but also trust another individual to love, nurture and help me raise MY baby.
It was through faith that I was able to carry out the joys and woes of my second pregnancy while not having it “all together” (like at all).
And it was through faith that I have been able to weather the season of nurturing a “new” family while still figuring out being a mom of 2 (while trying really hard not to mess up the first kid).
And that’s what it comes down to-
Everyday waking up and being.
Some days are so good you’ll want to write a parenting book, I swear.
Some days you wanna dig a hole and crawl into it and wonder how God could possibly entrust you with small humans of your own. (NEWSFLASH #2, just the fact that He did matters…like A LOT.)
And some days, you just are. You do the bare minimum to keep everyone alive and fed. But then you’ll do bedtime routine and your kid will say or do something so adorable, you’ll thank God over and over and over for them and for restoring your faith.
Whether you believe in God or not, know that SOMETHING conspired for you to be in charge of those children’s lives and there is no one better fit for them.
You are their first “home”.
You are their first life experience.
You are their first hello and first love.
If you EVER thought about changing the world, just a little bit, start with your own babies, whether they are fresh outta the womb or grown (they’ll always be your babies).
As cliché as it sounds, there is no greater gift, no greater joy, no greater pride, and no greater motivation than to have your own little human be a loving, good human.
But Momma, it starts with YOU.
I promise, no one ever goes back and says, “damn, I should’ve read the baby books”.