Lately, I’ve been settling into motherhood.
Even though I had read every book I could get my hands on and took in every bit of advice from my mom-blogger idols, having my son plopped in my arms was a bit of a shock. The instant I saw his gorgeous little face, I realized my identity was tangled up in my role as a mother. After all, it was my responsibility to make sure that you know, he wasn’t a total dreg on society or an axe murderer or something. More than that though, it was my responsibility to give this beautiful person every avenue to become who he was meant to be without struggle. Realizing the weight of my role, I felt the need to be with him every instant. I hardly took a moment to hydrate myself or sleep, let alone relax. I didn’t want to take the time for me worrying I’d risk missing a precious moment, but my self neglect was taking it’s toll.
For my twenty-first birthday, I had planned a bash with my nearest and dearest, a night of reckless abandon compared to the two months prior. I had pumped a huge stash of breast milk (not an easy feat, y’all) and my mother had agreed to watch the baby. Although it was a good time, the entire night as I felt myself letting loose, I in turn, felt myself struggle. I wasn’t exactly pre-baby Caitlin, I had gained a slightly different outlook, not to mention a killer bout of self consciousness. I found myself thinking, “I am a MOTHER, should I be celebrating with my friends who are more concerned with meeting guys and landing internships?!”. Mothers were pro-housekeepers and spent Saturday nights indoors reading Better Homes & Gardens. Mothers don’t curse as much as I do, or flirt with the snooze for an hour. They don’t hate doing the dishes or wear an old ratty pair of Vans theyre too attached to to get rid of to the market. When I saw myself, I couldn’t see myself as these stuffy stereotypes I had always joined to the word mother in my mind.
I wrestled with that for sometime, what it means to be a young mother. And ultimately, I realized I don’t have to adhere to any sort of idea because it’s common place. When my son was born, I didn’t suddenly have to like jewelry parties, drive a mini-van or carry a Coach purse. I didn’t need to know the specific remedy for the every kind of stain he acquired - that’s what Google is for!
It was so liberating to finally acknowledge there is no Mainstream Mama card that is issued to you for expelling a human from your uterus. And as long as I wasn’t engaging in behavior that could jeopardize our lifestyle, what I did when I had a baby sitter was my business. Then I started realizing all sorts of wondrous little things, like, it’s okay to be the kind of Mom who would rather explore with her baby than clean the baseboards. It’s okay when the baby finally takes a nap to get some time in doing the things I enjoy. It’s okay to take a bath by myself! It’s okay to have fun and not feel guilty.
And most importantly, I realized that being called “Mom” didn’t end my life as Caitlin, but added to it to make a richer, more fulfilled woman who happened to have the best son anyone could ask for.
(Source : Flickr / thruthelabyrinth)