So here I am, a 30-something-year-old woman (a child actually but ssssh, please don’t tell anyone as it will scare those around me who actually entrust me with work). I somehow still have to make a living, which is the adult thing to do – and it will also scare my children who think I know everything as if I’m their guru of Mommyhood.
In reality, I feel like a child trapped in an adult’s body, winging it when it comes to motherhood and still trying to figure out what it actually means to be a mother. At times it is so terrifying that I just switch off – as much as I can switch off with a two-year-old climbing all over me and a six-year-old telling me yet another dolly story and how she wishes to never grow up.
“I came to accept and have faith in my own mothering abilities when I stopped questioning myself.”
Me too, darling, me too I whisper. I’ve always thought about what it really means to embrace being a mom. I used to judge women and think that if being a mom means being overweight and squeezing into stretchy pants to hide all sorts of jiggling sins, then no thanks – that’s not for me. Now I laugh silently each time I have to actually go outdoors and look presentable.
Yes, the ever-important question of what it means to be a mom. To me, motherhood spelled loneliness, a loss of identity, losing one’s right to feeling glorious and being unable to embrace one’s sexuality anymore. I feared losing all sexual appeal and thought I’d have to wear mom frocks that screamed “I am a MOM” should anyone of the opposite sex even glance my way.
I had these two beautiful souls entrusted to me, relying on me, and yet I cried for the person I used to be. I cried for the fact that I had to navigate motherhood without my mother, who had chosen to desert a younger me for a far more exotic and leisurely life.
I came to accept and have faith in my own mothering abilities when I stopped questioning myself; when I released my expectations of fitting into the perfect mother mould. Such a mould, I ecstatically realised, does not exist and it is limiting beliefs such as these that many women impose on themselves. Instead, I became enlightened in the wonderful belief that I’m a mother who loves and adores those who rely on her.
There is nothing greater than the late nights, loss of sleep, story times, cuddles, stains, etc. that come with motherhood. I’ve embraced the different elements of myself and admire other women who jiggle in tights like myself. I admire the bravery of women who have not only embraced the title of mom, but who have allowed it to envelop their very being for the sake of the children whose hearts and hands they hold. If this is what it means to be a mother then I am perfectly content.
Written by Natasha Whatmore
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