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 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 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 lack 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.