Moms groups. Parent listservs. Parent signature required. All reminders that I’m a mother. Just today K said to me, Can you believe it? You’re a mom!
I’m not surprised the word makes me marvel. Labels like this always do. I’ve been married eight years but still don’t feel like a wife. At least not the way I imagine the label in my head.
Wife: Apron and high heels. Lipstick and painted nails. Baking cookies and hosting fabulous dinner parties with food on toothpicks. [While I do admittedly bake the occasional cookie, this is decidedly not me]
Mother: Sleep schedules listed on the fridge, developmentally appropriate toys. Lullabies sung while frolicking through the house. [Lullabies, yes. Frolicking, no. And as for developmentally appropriate toys- does a helium balloon count?]
I guess I thought mothers know it all. They don’t wing it. They know because they just do. And here’s a secret: I read all the parenting books, I analyze different schools of thoughts on sleep schedules and feeding times but really? I’m just learning as I go and half the time I wonder if I’m doing it right at all.
But when I’m standing in front of ten different diaper brands trying to figure out which one is just right, or examining the particular shade that is his poo, it sometimes hits me- a quiet thrill: I’m his mother. And I know that though I may not be the frolicking type I am a mother nonetheless. And I love him in a fierce sort of way. When I see a bear charging out of the woods to protect her cub on TV- I totally get it now. Because this love goes beyond logic and understanding- it is embedded inside a deeper part of me. And maybe that is all a mother needs. I hope one day when he’s all grown up and reflects back on me, that he will pardon what I lacked and think that on the whole I was a good mom indeed.