When does one become a mother?
Is it the moment your baby is born and you fall so deeply in love you think you might implode? Is it when you finally get comfortable referring to yourself in third person as mommy - "mommy wuvs uuuu?" Is it the first time you yell at your child and hear your
mother in your voice?
When does this giant, life-altering shift occur, the shift to motherhood, the shift to "I AM MOM?"
My hypothesis is, it occurs somewhere around the time that everything
starts to matter and every little needling thing has a consequence.
See, I don't remember caring about whether my siblings or roommates brushed their teeth, got enough sleep or ate their vegetables. I don't remember yelling before eight o'clock in the morning, or noon for that matter, or really yelling much at all. I don't remember overanalyzing every little decision or conversation or feeling self-conscious or guilty about my choices.
When the hell did all this happen? I feel like such a MOM! And not the hip, cool, Kate Hudson - I just had a baby with Mr. Fabulous and am back to my fighting weight and it's all such a breeze, I think I'll do a Cover Girl campaign - oh wait, did that. Next!
Nope, the mom world
I live in is the one in which every blasted thing is intense and ripe with consequences. If junior's on the iPad too long, his brain will turn to mush. If I don't volunteer for hot lunch, the other moms will call me a deadbeat. If my kids don't eat protein for breakfast, they won't be able to concentrate in school. If booger doesn't tie his shoes by age 4
, he'll be a drug dealer by 16. I'm making myself crazy with consequences!
Why? Is it a race to perfect the human race, one wee child at a time? I think not. And even if that were the truth, noble as it may seem, it's painful and I want it to end. I already paid the ultimate consequence for sex and love and being in a deep committed relationship, and that is my children - and it is a GOOD consequence, but an intense and giant consequence nonetheless.
It's my job to be a mother, to embrace the shift, with none of the guilt, perfection and neurosis that someone (media? other moms? doctors? I don't frickin' know) are stuffing down my throat, or at least that's how it feels. I will keep my kids safe, healthy, informed and hopefully create a passion for life and a curiosity that makes them interesting, broad, contributing members of our world. That is my job. That is a mother's job. As for consequences? Shoo!
Now for a cup of jasmine tea and some Good Day, Goodnight
, I'm about to find the perfect pastime - something that doesn't matter.
Learn more about Shannon, our new blog contributor, in her Small Talk profile!