08 Sep Mother of Boys
If you had told me when we got engaged that 4 years later we would be parents to 2 boys spaced 2 years and 11 days apart I would of laughed you out of our engagement party while attempting to distract myself with my new bling and zero responsibilities.
We always knew we wanted children and after dating for FOREVER (kidding, honey) we knew we didn’t want to wait too long. But 2… 2 boys… in 2 years… wasn’t even in our imagination that would happen.
Last week as I bathed the 2 of them, fresh from a romp in the garden and the 3 of us covered in dirt, I saw an opportunity. I whipped out my camera before they both started hollering to get out of the tub and captured them just how I want to remember these long baby days. So perfect in its imperfection.
I thought about how many times that day I had probably ignored them for an email or text, how many times they traded smacks over a toy they didn’t need or how many fleeting moments I had wasted doubting my worth as their mother.
I never will forget Jack’s anatomy scan. I remember every detail like it was yesterday. What John wore (a grizzlies t-shirt), where we sat (the corner of the room). I was 18 weeks pregnant and we already knew he was a boy. I called my mom to report everything. They lit up the 4 chambers of his heart I told her. They gave us weight estimates. “Doctor thinks he has hair”, I said.
She was quiet for a few moments before I heard her sigh and say, “they give moms today too much information.” I hung up the phone a few minutes later and was a little annoyed. For a moment it felt as if she didn’t share my excitement.
Yet, sitting in our dimly lit bathroom, bathing 2 dirty carefree boys I finally realized what she meant. Moms today do get too much information. From doctors, from friends, from all knowing Facebook groups, from family. Information is a great thing. I think back to the early days of nursing Jack where our only saving grace was women who had gone before me. But, in the uneasy moments of becoming a parent, I wonder if maybe information can be often misused as criticism.
Becoming a mom these days is harder than it’s ever been in history, in my opinion. Sure we aren’t fighting off wild animals but there are constant tugs at a mother’s confidence in the 21st century.
“Oh, you don’t breastfeed?”
“You let your kid eat Cheetos?”
“He still isn’t sleeping through the night?”
These little questions come at a new mom from every direction. Followed quickly by “well my pediatrician said XYZ” or “I read an article that said Cheetos cause cancer.” It’s a barrage of negative information, chipping away at our strength.
I have been guilty of it often. Sharing something with a friend with the intention of helping but not realizing she may of not needed my help. Sharing information when she didn’t ask for help. Sharing information when what she really needed was commiseration.
When what she needed was acknowledgement that in an age of Pinterest-perfect motherhood, it is ok to not be perfect. Not only is it ok, its NECESSARY. What kind of lesson are we teaching our kids if we strive to LOOK perfect instead of striving to BE HONEST? Our kids don’t care if we are all dressed to the 9’s in a spotless house. They care if we are present. And joyful.
Sharing the honest and hard moments with each other is where the true beauty in motherhood lives. We get to parent these amazing babies with a village of imperfect mother’s sharing our struggles. Comparison is the thief of joy, and when the joy thats being stolen is moments with your babies, its best to let the idea of perfect go…