“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck.This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood—finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
~ Jodi Picoult
I started writing this letter as a list of four misconceptions about motherhood: your life will be turned upside down, babies are expensive, you must have a three bed, two bath house, and you will never have time for yourself. All are untrue, and you can keep yourself.
I realized one of my problems is the constant need to put ideas into lists, write specifically about each one, and skim the issue in a neat, organized fashion. But motherhood is not about lists. Motherhood is not about planning and motherhood is not about skimming. It is the opposite.
Motherhood is about stretching to find the core of who you are and who your child is.
To be a mother is to float in front of a giant wave you never knew was coming until it hits you, and knocks you under, and then you come up glistening and more beautiful than before. There are many things I wish I had been told before the moment occurred, the moment when a piece of me came out and became its own piece of an amazing puzzle. Most of all, I wish I’d known that every simple moment counts so much more than the complicated ones.
It is in those simple moments the relationship blossoms.
Motherhood is that moment when your child picks a flower from the garden and hands it to you with a goofy grin on her face. The flower is already dead but it’s beautiful to her, and to you. It’s the moment when you stick out your tongue for your baby, and he responds with toothless cackling that is as ego boosting as if you had just climbed Mount Everest.
Simply, motherhood is about love.
Despite all of our checklists and nice ways to go about parenting, love is really the only thing that matters to a child. The other day, my five-year old looked up at me and said, “Mommy I like houses, but I love you more.” I smiled. As Americans, we think we need to provide our children with our self-created, limited idea of what is the best. When really all children care about is love. To them, love is the best.
Motherhood isn’t always rosy and I do not always feel like I love it.
There have been evenings after everyone is asleep, that I have curled up in child’s pose in the middle of the living room floor and cried after a long day. Nobody knew but me. Motherhood is attempting to find a moment of peace after watching a toddler scatter flour and sugar all over the floor, while the baby nurses your energy away after having kept you up all night. It’s about finding your inner peace, out of nowhere, when your outer energy is wiped away. It’s about forgetting everything else going on in the world and just holding your child.
Motherhood is one simple moment after the next.
Whether joyful or strenuous, simple moments will make you feel more complex than you’ve ever felt before. It is allowing something as small (and wise) as a little child to mold you into the person that you need to become. The person you never thought you’d be. The person you love.
I love what being a mother is making of me. I am not where I want to be, but I will get there. And as a future mother, you will get there too. And you will thrive. So when the time comes, please attempt to lay aside all ideas of perfection. Just allow yourself to bask in the simplicity of those beautiful, amazing loves.
Those saving graces. Your children.
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Assistant Editor: Jennifer Moore/ Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Moore