I've decided to start with something fun and relaxing-I have been tagged by Samantha of Apple Juice and Milk to talk about 5 experiences that have helped shape me into a Theta Mom (a true, authentic Mom).
1. Of course first on my list is pregnancy and childbirth. I know, shock. Still, I think nothing says trial-by-fire like the whole "making and birthing a tiny human" thing. With each of my pregnancies I "enjoyed" new opportunities to experience motherhood in all new ways. With my first pregnancy (Monkey!) I experienced the damning judgment that comes with teen pregnancy (even though I was emancipated!), 9 months of crippling hyperemesis (I was hospitalized on average three times a week), and the joy of delivering a child with a 14 1/2 inch head (thank GOD for epidurals!). With Baby Bug I was introduced to the most excruciating experience of my entire life [yes, even more painful than childbirth] as I passed gallstones for 14 weeks before they induced me (and then for six more weeks after that). With The Bean I got to UNWILLINGLY experience the natural child birth of a baby with a 13 1/2 inch head.
Yep. Trial by fire I tell you.
2. Next on my list is the emotional experience I had with Baby Bug. When the hormones kicked in I became crazy. When we found out that she was a girl I was terrified-my experience with my mother was so profoundly awful, and I was so terribly hormonal, that all I could do was cry for weeks. Then, just as I came to a kind of peace with the fact that just because my mom was a dreadful mother to her daughter didn't mean I would carry that on, I began to absolutely obsess over the fear that Monkey would feel abandoned by his Mommy. I began to feel like a Judas-as if I were trading in our son for another baby. The guilt was crushing. I was devastated. How could I possibly love them both at once? How could I willingly betray our precious son by having another baby that would steal me away from him? WHAT KIND OF A MOTHER AM I?! All of these thoughts swirled in my head so furiously that on the night before we were induced I was a giant sobbing wreck. I bawled my eyes out all over Hubby, traumatized, absolutely certain that giving birth to Baby Bug would be no less painful than driving a dagger through our son's heart.
Then Baby Bug was born....and I waited for that moment of instant bonding that happened when Monkey was born, and it didn't happen. I had twice the guilt-not only did I betray our darling first born by having a second baby, but I was neglecting our newborn daughter because of my inability to instantaneously bond with her. I did everything I could to try to force it, but it just wasn't happening and I felt lower than pond scum. Then one day I just let it go. I relaxed-I figured even if we couldn't bond the same way Monkey and I did that I still loved her and that was all that mattered...and you know what? It happened. I relaxed and let go and that bond between my oldest daughter and I snuck right up on me. Now she is my heart's sunshine, and I couldn't even imagine not adoring her in every way-but that experience certainly shaped me as a mom.....I learned that every child is different, and every relationship is different, but there is enough love and enough bonding experiences to go around for everybody if I just let my relationships with my children grow and develop naturally at their own pace.
3. Another thing that has made me a true, authentic mom is my lifestyle. What is so weird about being a stay at home, minivan loving, homeschooling mom? Nothing....unless you come from a family of career driven, Harley riding, public school teachers like I do-in which case you're the black sheep. [Baaaa!] I have spent Monkey's entire life defending my lifestyle choices to my family and I fully expect that I will need to do so until the last of our children leaves home, but it's worth it. I love my kids, and I will do what I think is best for them and I will defend that decision to the ends of the earth. A mama bear takes care of her baby bears.
4. To me, being a true authentic mom means being honest about being a regular person. I'm the first one to tell you that I'm not Super Mom-no matter how hot I think the boots are, I could never fill them. Nor could I be some uber serene Little House on the Prairie mom. I am not the freestyle Hippie Mom or the Donna Reid incarnate. I'm just me. I'm just a normal person, with a slightly elevated level of patience and the ability to work really hard.......by necessity and training, not virtue I assure you.
5. One of the personal hurdles I have overcome as a mom in the last five years is my disturbing addiction to sleep. I used to be a sleep junkie-sleeping 6, maybe 7 hours in a row some days. As a mom however
Now that's a sure sign of being a real mom.
If you read this entire post, you're awesome and you should post too! I tag all of you, and I promise to read your posts even if it is obscenely long like mine is or even obsceneier. [Yep, obsceneier. That's what you get on two hours of sleep.] What makes you a true, authentic mom? Just link it in the comments and I'll stop by!