Dear Mom I Thought I Would Be,
I had this vision of you. You were perfect. I dreamed about you when I was pregnant. I was excited for you. I was confident in you. I thought nothing could get in your way.
You were graceful. You were patient. You were soft spoken. You made it look easy. You had it under control. You were my hopeful expectation. My best self on a very good day.
I had a fabricated idea of you in my head and it looked something like this:
- You never yelled or raised your voice.
- You were always in control of your emotions.
- You consistently engaged and played with your children. All the time.
- You always put your children’s needs before your own. No matter what.
- You were completely confident in yourself as a mother.
- You always knew what to do.
These were my expectations of you. There was no room for error.
I tried to be you. I truly did. I held on for some time. But slowly the sleep deprivation kicked in. In time that little baby became a toddler. A strong willed, opinionated little creature. One who tested limits, had a voice (a loud one at that) and at times didn’t know what the heck she wanted.
Where solving and soothing was impossible. Where flailing bodies, full-blown tantrums and unpredictable behavior was the norm. Where answers and solutions didn’t always exist.
And it’s not that I didn’t expect this behavior. I think I did. It’s just, well, I didn’t understand the lack of control that came with raising another human being.
I didn’t anticipate the feelings of defeat. I didn’t anticipate the feelings of inadequacy. I did not anticipate the feelings of being mentally and physically exhausted. I didn’t understand. Not at all. Not one bit.
So, Mom I Thought I Would Be, this is the mom I am and have become. I’m not you. There are parts of you in me, but I am not you. I am more than that because I am real. I am a real mom.
I am a mother who loves deeper than she ever imagined. A mother who feels more than she ever thought. One who has experienced higher highs and lower lows than she could have ever anticipated.
I am a mother who is humbled. A mother who now has tons of empathy and compassion for other moms. I am a mother who wishes she had more control, but also understands that she needs to let things go. I am a mother who needs a break. A mother who knows that sometimes her kids can wait. A mother who has realized she has so much more to learn.
Do I still wish I was you? Sometimes.
In those moments when l feel like I can’t keep up, when I am lacking energy and my patience is running thin, then “Yes,” I do. But most of all I know I cannot expect that of myself. Because that is not fair. Because life isn’t perfect. Because my children are not perfect. Because I am not perfect. Because perfect does not exist.
So, Mom I Thought I Would Be, I am slowly letting you go and embracing the mom that I am. I look at this mom in the mirror. I see her dreams and purpose. I look at her and see how far she has come. Her eyes may be tired, but she inspires me. She is real. She is me.