To be honest, Mother's Day has popped up on me this year. The other day Mike asked what I'd like to do on Sunday and it had completely slipped my mind; I guess I've been so focused on this new baby life and getting things ready which is pretty ironic; I've been thinking constantly about being a mother but forgot that I get a special day! Ha!
This is my second official year being a mother, though it's technically my third, because let's just all be honest - as soon as you realize you are carrying that extra little heartbeat around, the way you *are* just changes too. From my experience, as soon as I got that positive pregnancy test I stopped being the person I used to be and I started thinking differently - everything I ate, everything I planned for the future, it included that little life inside of me.
I remember last year I was coming out of my first full year of parenting - we'd gone through some pretty serious sleep deprivation, and conquered things I never thought I'd be able to do like breastfeeding and you know, driving around and actually getting out of my house! And all I could think was how much appreciation I had for mothers everywhere. For my mom, for my best friend, for all the friends I was meeting on the internet - being a mom was way harder then I had ever really thought. And hard for some reasons I hadn't even considered. For starters my life goals were completely changing and I had a hard time grappling with that. I realized for the first time what a huge, incredibly tough position we are put in as mothers in 2017: Work, Stay-Home, have money, have no money, give up a career, loose face with people who you think want you to have a career - it's a crazy internal monologue that doesn't really stop. As I neared the end of my maternity leave at home with June about this time last year, I was really really struggling to find my way. It took another 8 months after that to figure out and come to terms with what I need for myself as a mother right now and in January of this year, I decided that meant being home with June and this new little one. It was a decision that meant leaving behind the old way I viewed the world, and what I always thought I wanted for my life. But it was also just a recognition that life isn't this one straight trajectory like I always assumed it would be; there are all these forks off of it, sometimes they lead back to the main road and sometimes they lead you down this path that is all together way more marvellous then you could have ever anticipated for yourself. I stumbled on one of my grade 9 English projects the other day. One of the elements was a "planned timeline" for my life and in true Emily "reach for the stars fashion" I had myself doing crazy things by the age of 30; writing novels, meeting important famous people, winning prestigious prizes for my humanitarian work. I have some explaining to do to grade 9 Emily apparently!
Mostly though I feel like my concept of happiness had been misled. We're told from such a young age, you can be anything you want to be! You can be Prime Minister or a Doctor or a Lawyer or devote your life to helping others, but so rarely do we tell our kids, "You can be happy." And this isn't a fault of my parents or your parents, its just what in my opinion drives so much of our culture, this crazy need to "be something"... other than ourselves or content with that small circle of world around us. And I'm not saying that being a Doctor or Lawyer or being completely devoted to others is a bad thing - the opposite! I have so much admiration for people who pursue these callings! But I overheard it in one of June's shows the other day - she absolutely *loves* Daniel Tiger right now (and actually as far as kids shows go it drives me probably the least crazy!) And in it they were telling Daniel Tiger he could be anything! That same story line. And it just made me think about how I want to be a mom. Do I honestly care if June is on the top of a podium by the time she's 18? Sure I'd be proud as anything, but I hope it's not just the pursuit of that achievement which makes her happy. I want to be a mom who is happy; who laughs with my kids, who shows my kids how to love other people and trust in God and excel at whatever it is that makes them tick.
And for me I think it comes back to this; I wish someone had told grade 9 Emily, you know it's ok if you want to be a mother. Being a mother is amazing and absolutely one of the hardest jobs you can choose for yourself. You won't be on a podium, there's a high rate of burn out and the pay is abysmal - at least in terms of money anyway. But it is absolutely something that can make you happy, in ways you won't understand until you give it a try - in whatever formula that works for you (because I know not everyone wants to be a stay-at-home-mom). I know that being a mom isn't what defines me, but it's what I am going to define my days with right now.
I love being a mother. Sure there are times when I completely shut down and need to just sit comatose staring at my phone or standing in the shower for longer then what is necessary but it doesn't last. The truth of it is it makes me happy & I feel so much that being a mom has made me a better person - much much more then I could have ever imagined for myself when I was 14.
Happy (almost!) Mother's Day!!
These are some of my fave pics of motherhood from the past couple year:
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