Monday, November 22, 2010

The Problem with Mothers

I'm never going to be the mom I thought I wanted to be.

(Though to be fair, the kind of mom we want to be changes a bit from time to time.)

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be just like my mommy. She was beautiful, smart, comfortable and strong. She had jewelry and makeup and high-heeled shoes.

I remember her trying to tell me that she didn't know everything and that she made mistakes from time to time, but I just couldn't wrap my little mind around that.

As it so happens, I did get to a point as a snotty pubescent that I realized she was right. She didn't know everything. She didn't even know anything! I was going to be nothing like her when I was a mom.

Somehow, while I was in college, my mom got really smart again. I could appreciate how hard she worked. I saw her reaping some of the fruit she had planted years and years ago. I got to sing in her wedding to her high-school sweetheart (fulfilling a odd dream I had as a little girl to be in my mommy's wedding, even back when my parents were married). I thought that if I could ever be half as good a mom as she was, I'd do alright.

Then she went and got promoted to Grandma. (They still let her keep her old job as Mom, too.)

So then, I had not only my mom's example to follow, but also my sister and brother's parenting to emulate. And their babies were perfect, so that's a high standard, I'll have you know.

I wasn't a wife long before we started our own journey to become parents. It was a bit longer than we expected, but y'all know that story already.

Then a good chunk of my friends became mothers. My models of motherhood went from an observable sample to an overwhelming array of styles and options and methods. But for me, motherhood was still out of reach, a realm of mystery and wonder.

And then....

And now....

Now I'm within two months (two months!) of becoming what (what?!) I've dreamed of for so long. I'm going to be the one that my child needs, adores, idolizes, ignores, despises, rejects, returns to and (hopefully) ultimately befriends.

So I look to the mom I thought I had, the mom I thought I wanted to be like/not like, the grandma to my niece and nephews, my mother-in-law, my sisters/-in-law, my cousins, my friends, the blogs, the books, the classes, more books, and I've come to this conclusion.

I'm never going to be the mom I thought I wanted to be.

Because there is only one My Mommy. And as much as I am like her (SO like her!), I am not going to be a mom just like she was. She was exactly the kind of mom her kids need/ed her to be. As was my mother-in-law. And so on.

These mothers do the best they know to do. They love the most they can, then they choose to love even more. They make mistakes. They have grace for their kids' mistakes. They give roots, they give wings, they hope we dance. They pray without ceasing. They teach by example. They change, even as their children change. And not one of them is doing any of this like anybody else does it.

So the problem, the wonderful mysterious problem, is; there is not a mother in the world that I can be like. I can and will be the mother I am meant to be and the mother my child(ren) need.

And you know what? I think I'm ok with that!

(Happy Birthday to my amazing mommy! I'm so grateful I got the one and only you as mine.)

(This is from last Christmas. A good reminder to me to get a picture with just you every time we're together! We change our hair too much to be stuck this far in the past!)


  1. Very wonderful blog! Love it!!

  2. So good, and so true! This is why I vowed to never say (before I had kids) "I will never parent that way," or "MY kids will never..." Because you just don't know until they are here. You are ahead of the game if you realize this already!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...