There is an internal war that rages within mothers around the world. We battle each other, ourselves and strangers to compete for the ability to have it all while simultaneously doing it the best. An impossible standard that reflects the perfect balance between not just one or two things, but everything. It is not enough to just be a mom, but we need to work, run marathons, clean/cook--all while maintaining an image of sanity and happiness with the perfect caption and filter for social media. In my husband and I’s decision to trade in our family-four-pack for an uneven, out-numbered party of five, I felt myself give way to an internal shift. For some of you this may have happened with your first, second or fifth child-- or you could completely disagree and choose a different way. But in my experience, today, I have consciously decided to go all in and wear my mom hat and fanny pack proudly as my main identity.
Somewhere in between one and two kids I became obsessed with the idea that my strong, independent, feminist-self was being suffocated by motherhood. I will never be the person I was before I became a mom. What a terrifying concept that I am not myself anymore. I had so many tiny hands pulling me every which way, I was scared I wouldn’t be strong enough to balance the weight of it all.
If I put my life into acts like a play, one would assume that I’d always be in the starring role. But this is not the case right now. It is not about me, it is about them and the little life inside I am growing. And the most important thing I’ve learned is that is ok. This act is theirs and mine will come later. I enjoy holding them up to the light so they can shine, in fact, it makes me the happiest I have ever been. Of course, I carve out pieces of time for me, my husband, my friends and extended family all of which makes my heart even fuller. But I am consciously choosing to put all my chips on motherhood. I will happily succumb to the minivan, softball practice, and bedtime stories because these are purposeful choices I am making. Motherhood doesn’t have to be like gravity where it exists simply because it does. How easy it is to take for granted these everyday motions and look around to watch every other mom somehow doing it all with more grace and a cleaner house. I now see that my kids were never pulling me down, but rather helping me step into the role I was meant to play.
From the second your child enters your life an internal alarm is triggered that ignites guilt, pressure, self-doubt and seems to magnify our inadequacies-- the results cannot leave any sane woman unscathed. We are never doing enough, being enough, giving enough. To which I say enough now. Enough. I have decided to let it all go and embrace my new mantra that in motherhood I may have lost my sanity, but I have found my soul.