I’ll admit it. I hate this. I hate being wrong.
I define myself based on what I do. I get a joy or some sort of self satisfaction from saying that I am a teacher. I am a runner. I, I, I… Nothing like quitting my career to give me a little perspective on this topic. After these months of going to Laila Grace’s pediatrician appointments and filling out run of the mill paperwork with questions on it such as date of birth, first, middle and last names and… occupation.
Oh my. What will I write down as my occupation now that I no longer have one? I can’t write “none.” Or can I? I should write “none.” But I have a job. I’m a mama. Being a mama is work. Like 24/7/365 work. But people don’t consider it to be much of a “job.” I used to be one of those people who thought being a stay-at-home mama was a cake job. I admit that I thought I’d have lots of time to do cool stuff when I decided to stay home with Elle. I mean, I thought I would be able to finish all of the half started arts and crafts projects that I have laying around. I thought I’d be able to read all of the books on my shelf that I’ve yet to read. I mean, I even reorganized my book shelf and separated the books that I’ve read from the books that I’ve yet to read.
I had grand plans for this precious time that I was supposed to dedicate to mothering my baby girl. I didn’t think I did… but I did. I wasn’t supposed to make plans…but I did. I don’t know when I did… but I did.
I came across this article on Facebook entitled, “Why being a mom is enough.” I wasn’t going to read it because I didn’t want to read an article by some lady who felt sorry for herself for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom and trying to validate her choice with a new fancy job title that basically means the same things as stay-at-home mom. (I guess I was a little sensitive to this because I was really trying to think of a clever way to state that I am a stay-at-home mama when I filled out that paperwork asking my occupation… you know… so I could feel worthwhile.)
But as I read the article, it struck a chord with me:
There is no supermom, really – that whole supermom who has everything together is just a fallacy. There are real moms. Real, authentic moms who admit that they don’t have it all together but keep on fighting. Scared and tired moms who keep fighting. Moms who are overwhelmed by keeping up with littles all day long. Moms like you and me who sometimes feel lost in a world of outward accomplishments.
A mother isn’t based on external perfection. A mother is the person, the woman, just like you. The woman with little ones in her care that she loves, and sometimes wonders how she loves them because they’re driving her batty, but still she does. She fights, gives, prays, works, and doesn’t give up even when she wants to throw in the towel.
This article was nothing like I imagined it would be. I came at it from a judgmental perspective (I seem to become more judge-y when I feel less confident). This woman said something that I needed to hear. She wasn’t trying to make herself feel better than anyone else but she was trying to convey a point that mothers matter. All of us. From the mama who works outside the home only to come home from work to take care of household duties to the mama who stays at home taking care of her littles. We all matter.
My mother in law asked me why don’t I join one of those mother and baby groups that are held at churches. I answered her candidly. To be honest, I don’t want to be surrounded by a whole bunch of Christian first time moms. If there’s one place where I’ll judge and (possibly) be judged it’s in a room full of Christian moms. It’s sad to say but I think it’s true. Women can be kind of judgmental. Why? I think that it may be because at the end of the day, we just want to feel like we’re doing better than someone…anyone. Even if that someone is a woman in our same predicament fighting the same feelings of inadequacy. It’s sad. I can only speak for myself so I’m surmising but why else do phrases like, “hey, it could be worse” make me feel just a tad bit better about my own situation???
Here’s the thing: Our journeys are different but there is a common thread: many of us don’t feel adequate. Many of us don’t feel confident. Many of us judge for no good reason (is there ever a good reason?). So, another thing that motherhood has taught me in the now thirteen weeks that I’ve been doing this is that, if nothing else, motherhood is an opportunity to understand life from a perspective of grace.
Motherhood is an opportunity to understand life from a perspective of grace.
So, I was wrong. I am not defined by what I do. I am defined by the way I think about what I do, by the way I give grace to others and to myself.