MMs: On being that "one mom".

I've always known her.
She was always someone else's mom...until recently.

 She had an amazing "top secret" recipe for chocolate cookies, lasagna, name it. With her preschoolers, she knew over 100 fun things to do with a paper plate, coffee filter, and toilet paper roll. She "distracted" instead of getting frustrated. She actually deeply enjoyed her children and didn't have to give herself pep talks that she had made the right decision. (to stay at home, to go back to work, whatever it was...)

She had consistently shaved legs.

She always had a batch of homemade play-dough on hand when her kids were antsy. She only uses agave nectar as a sweetner.

She stopped being someone else's mom about 4 years ago. That's when I had Elasia. And this "person" that I had subconciously created in my mind - that had actually robbed me of hours that could have been spent being grateful for my own PERFECT-for-me mother - then morphed into "that ONE mom".

When Elasia was born, I didn't realize it at the time, but I had postpartum depression. So that ONE mom was the one who could get out of her PJs before lunch time. She never broke down in uncontrollable sobs when her newborn woke up "early" from a nap. Her house may not have been perfect, but at least she could get the laundry done before her husband would have to wash a pair of underwear in the sink out of desperation. She lived in a constant state of "I was MADE for Motherhood - this is GREAT!"  She made me sick and envious at the same time.  She gave me great ideas every once in a while, but mostly she just made me feel smaller and smaller and.....smaller....until I had almost lost who I was.

After the birth of my second child, I still felt "behind" in life, but I didn't feel like that dark cloud was going to swallow me alive every day. I started to watch my newborn and my 17 month old interact so beautifully - birds seemed to chirp, the sun shone brightly and I could breathe.

Fast forward 3-4 years. I woke up one morning and realized I had nothing on the agenda! I decided to pack the girls up and spontaneously drive to Connecticut with a friend of mine. We had a PERFECT day getting our "suburban" fix: going to a mall and eating in a food court. My kids loved it. We drove back into Manhattan that evening and I had a crockpot of wonderful dinner waiting for us.

After dinner, the girls and I snuggled and read books before bed time and for some miraculous reason they didn't protest as I left the room.  I felt content. And then it hit me: I WAS that ONE mom!!!!


This should have made me feel accomplished, almost victorious, like some life long enemy had been defeated. But instead, I felt hollow. Why? Because I KNEW me. If I really "was" that ONE mom, then I was an incredible dissapointment. Not everyday was that perfect, in fact, they were an exception.

Call it "mommy guilt", "unhealthy comparisons" or whatever pop-psychology term that fits, here's what I started to learn that night:

On one side of the coin: That ONE mom must die.

She doesn't deserve to exist in our minds robbing us of the precious time we have in this life with our loved ones. When that ONE mom is haunting me in my mind, I am blind to see how priceless the moments are that I have with my kids. Always thinking of what I can't do/haven't done, I don't appreciate what IS actually happening that is oh-so-very good.

On the other side of the coin: I am that ONE mom!

The idea that someone else is a better mother than I am is toxic. It has to end in my mind. I was, in fact, created to do this. And these babies, who WERE pieced together and formed in MY womb, were literally and figurately made for ME. In order to appreciate who we are as mothers we've got to KNOW who we uniquely are as a person.

Who I am:
I am not always a "nice" person, but I can be pretty darn funny. I'm not always the most organized person, but I can make people feel loved and at home in my little apartment. I'm not the best "think-ahead" planner, but I'm laid back enough to enjoy spontaneity. I love to dissect philosophy and laugh A LOT. I love stories. I'm really bad at "seeing" messes that my husband knows exists before he even walks through the door.  I can come across as bossy when I'm actually just excited about helping out. I'm really bad at keeping in touch with extended family and friends, but I'm fiercely loyal.....

This person - Evita - is who my children need. On one hand, they don't NEED that ONE mom to raise them.  On the other hand, I AM that ONE mom in their lives.  Elasia and I love people together. Qara and I make people laugh together.  We are a family team. And I was hand picked to play my unique part.

Honestly, this is a daily fight for me. I don't want my time wasted in useless comparison or feeling inferior. I still haven't figured out how to balance being a housekeeper, mom, and wife along with all the other roles I play.

And yes, I may have a killer (and top secret) lasagna recipe and YES we have picnics in our living room and make crafts with all kinds of things. But that's not because I'm striving to be someone I'm not. It's because that's who I am.

That ONE mom.


Abby Rose said...

oh friend. you are so amazing. right to the core of your very being. thank you for being raw and honest and saying the stuff that we ALL are thinking and feeling at one time or another. I feel like that ONE mom is always watching me, with her checklist of things I missed. But i think today i may tell her where she can put HER checklist, bc jj and i have memories to make :)

Bridget said...

Oh Evita, thank you so much for this blog! I love reading it. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes because I had a mom breakdown last night before going to work. I felt like a horrible mother. I think just need to re-read this post over and over. "I am the perfect mother for my children."

I feel the same way as you when I make it out of the grocery store without one of my kids screaming. Or I make it to the end of the day without loosing my mind... or when Hannah actually takes a nap thats longer than 30 minutes.... or when I can actually sip my coffee intstead of inahale it.

You get the point. Thanks. :)

Megan Gahagan said...

You amaze me. Truly. You're such an example to me.

Beth said...

Why am I up (I was already in bed once tonight) and how did I end up here . . . I don't know, but I'm so glad I got to read this post. Wow!

You said it so very beautifully Evita!

I can't wait until I return (when I'm less sleepy) and read all your archives. This blew me away.

miller_schloss said...

Yup, yup, yup, I needed this today! I am having such a FAIL day. This reminds me that I can make tomorrow better.