Being a 21st century mother is like being thrown to the wolves. Wolves who are, for all intents and purposes, “peanut free, organic, cloth diapering” ladies in clothes purchased from Lands End and adorned in jewels, not worth thousands of dollars, but handmade “one of a kind” from your favorite Etsy shop or origami owl distributor. It’s a billion dollar market, and growing. I am guilty, at times, of being one of these wolves. I am human after all, and my eyes always sparkle at a good deal. I’m not above judgment of others. After all God did not make us infallible.
Becoming a mother was much more than giving birth one warm and sunny morning in May . It was a process. A process I had a very long time to fantasize about. I would sit in our spare bedroom and wonder what our future held. Would He answer our long awaited prayer, or were we going to be just a couple instead of a family. I had plans for my future children if there were to ever be any. And I voiced those plans and opinions proudly. Often to the chagrin of my friends and family who had all been mothers for quite some time.
In the late summer of 2011, our prayers were answered. We were pregnant. Our first child was imminent. Due the following spring. The pregnancy was wracked with drama. High risk, weeks of bedrest, bleeding for much of the pregnancy, and ER trips. During these long mundane days of bed rest I would (when I wasn’t worried half sick about her making it to this world) plan what kind of mother I was going to be. I looked at examples of mothers whom I deem successful at parenting in my own family. My mother and sister. I read all the books. Joined all the websites. I would plan all the experiences we were going to have as a family and as mother and daughter.
The first of these experiences I wanted was natural child birth. My 22 week appointment threw this plan out the window. The hematoma was not healing, my daughter would be born via c-section.
The second was I was absolutely going to exclusively breast feed. Thirty minutes after my daughter was born (full term to the surprise of our doctor and ourselves) I had her fresh newborn mouth attached to what I hoped was flowing breast milk. How naïve was I! After two days I was still getting very little production, so we needed to supplement. After two weeks, with a poor latch, cracked bleeding nipples and little to no production at all, my breast feeding days were over.
Third, I planned to make her baby food myself and only feed her nutritious healthy foods. Organic veggies and meats. This was also wracked with failure. I work fulltime and it cost more and made me spend more time trying to make it, then just being able to build quality time with my daughter. We started purchasing baby food. I didn’t plan on giving my daughter hotdogs, fail. I didn’t plan on giving her fruit snacks, another fail. No candy or pop, although rare she has still had both.
Fourth, I was going to find other ways than TV to stimulate my child. I was going to follow the recommendation of no screen time. HUGE FAIL. Sometimes a mom needs to make dinner without a cranky toddler at her feet, or take a shower, or make a phone call….etc…
And the result of all of my “failures” ? A perfectly healthy toddler. A happy toddler. A smart toddler. A toddler who questions my authority, who teases her dog, who runs to her Daddy arms wide open giggling in anticipation of scratchy beard kisses!
How to I celebrate this?
By deciding that maybe, since our “failures” turned out so amazingly, not perfectly perfect, to become parents for the second time.
Another little girl is on her way, miraculously created the first month of trying (again to the surprise of our doctor and us). Busy with a 2 year old, there’s no time to contemplate what kind of mother I’ll be this time. I just am. I’m a mother, with all of my imperfections, all my failures and flaws. It’s such a blessed life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.