Even as I type the words, I still need to say them out loud to hope they register. “I’m a mom.” I feel compelled to add a question mark. I remain in utter disbelief at the idea, despite my now four and a half month tenure as a so-called mother.
You can go your whole life wanting kids, thinking you’ll seamlessly step into the role, and believing you’ll easily contend with whatever related emotions in motherhood come your way. LOL. Now, I can only describe the feeling of motherhood as a very large rock sitting heavy on your chest at all times while your heart tries to explode out from beneath it.
Sounds fun, right?
Somehow, it is. Despite that constant anxiety and almost sickening love, walking into Cora’s room when she wakes up feels like showing up to the gates at Disney World every single morning. You know the feeling I’m talking about? Not only does her uninhibited joy bring me back to that blissful naivety of being a kid, it reminds me that I must be doing something right as a mom for her to consistently deliver that ear-to-ear grin.
Mother’s Day has always felt special. As a kid, I felt like my mom and others were almost mythical. Moms were the boss. They made the rules and had all the answers. It made complete sense to me that they should have a day specifically designated for worshipping them. I couldn’t wait to see my mom’s approval of whatever Mother’s Day gift I had made at school, like delivering treasure at the throne of a queen.
Now, I’ve seen behind the curtain. I look back and laugh at how my mom probably felt the same “I have no idea what I’m doing” feeling that I do now. “My kid thinks I’m doing a good job? Ha!” I can only hope I trick Cora into thinking the same thing. And she better worship me too.
Before she arrived, I guess I assumed that I would just have it all figured out; that instinct would take over as Cora came into my arms. Well, no. Instead, every single day I know I’ll be scrambling to answer some ground-breaking, Einstein-worthy question that will surely define my child’s wellbeing. And so I dangerously take to Google. GOOGLE, people. How did my mom do it without GOOGLE?!
And just when that black hole of information starts to drive me insane, I think, “What would my mom do?” Just as I felt as a kid, my mom and others still feel like the most all-knowing and decisive figures. If we were ever up to no good, they could solve any crime by dinner time (fellow millennials: name that movie).
Maybe one day I’ll see myself the same way. If I can both still rely on my mom yet recognize that she was most likely clueless, I can only hope Cora will assume that her mom has all life’s answers and more (at least until the age of 12, at which point all bets are off and things get really dicey).
As my first Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t wait to celebrate as a mom to my favorite person in the world with the best partner I could have on this journey. I’ll also be celebrating the time I’ve had at home with her as I return to work the next day. Talk about the Sunday Scaries…
So this year, I’m giving myself the gift of some grace this Mother’s Day. For the past week, I’ve felt all the emotions. First, gratitude for having had these four months with my daughter. Then pride at every new skill she learns, joy at getting to be her mother, frustration during long days without naps, and guilt knowing that in a few days time, I must spend 40 hours of my week not with her. It’s killing me inside, but I know I need to give myself a break.
Someone, remind me to read this at some point next week?
Before I head into this trying next chapter, I want to tell myself a few things that I’m sure my mom and other moms would tell me:
- You might feel overwhelmed right now, but you will accomplish exactly what you need to accomplish today.
- Your job from 8am-3pm is to be an amazing teacher. Your job once you are home is to be an amazing mom.
- Amazing doesn’t mean “Pinterest perfect.” It means loving and mindful.
- When you don’t check off every item on that to-do list, remember you’re the nut that made it so long in the first place. Don’t forget to prioritize, forgive yourself, and adjust for tomorrow.
- The teacher you are today might not be the teacher you were 3 years ago. You will have less time and feel more frazzled, but you will be teaching with a mother’s perspective.
- It’s okay to want to be around grown-ups again.
So this Mother’s Day, remember how you felt as a kid about your mom on Mother’s Day or any day. We don’t have all the answers and we all make mistakes along the way, but at least our kids (hopefully) see us as we saw (and still see) our moms.
In the meantime, tell me how you’re feeling this Mother’s Day. Also, how did you make that first transition back to work? Let me know!