What makes you a “real” mom? It wasn’t that cute little burrito of a baby the nurse handed you on delivery day. No. It wasn’t the time your kid babbled “mama” for the first time, was it? Nope. It wasn’t the time your little precious moved into a big girl bed, or was it?
This morning on the radio, the hosts of my favorite morning show were taking callers on the topic–well, sort of. Their spin was, “At what point in your life did you really feel like a grown-up?” Having kids was taken off the table. No one wanted to hear about how having kids made one suddenly grow up and be responsible. So there were comments like, “filing an insurance claim for a fender bender,” “signing papers for a first mortgage,” “dealing with a leaky roof of a new home.” No one mentioned things like “getting married” or other traditional rites of passage.
So, it got me thinking: When did I finally feel like a “real” mom? I don’t know…it sort of crept up on me. Sometimes Ie still wonder if I am “real.” Being a parent often feels like being an imposter. I mean, a lot of the roles we have in life weren’t really a choice…we just sort of become a daughter, a sister, a granddaugter and we grew up in that role.
But roles like wife, mother, and friend…well, those are all choices (usually). I remember after saying “I do” to my darling husband at our beautiful outdoor fall wedding, that I didn’t feel much “different.” I didn’t feel married, but I was–I had a ring and had said vows in front of friends and family and God…we have goals and plans for how to live our lives together.
When my first baby was born–she was adorably wrapped in a blanket and looking like a burrito with impossibly large blue eyes and a tuft of red hair. Yes, it was a very touching moment, one I won’t ever–in a million years–forget. But, if anyone had asked me, “How does it feel to be a mother?” at that very moment, I would have said, “I don’t know…” and today, well–I guess I could say, “exhausted…like I’ve been run over by a candy wagon!”
Sometimes I am not sure if I really am a mom. Who is this woman who runs after kids all day and drives a minivan? Who is this woman who plans gifts to give to teachers at the end of the school year and pays the extra fee for full-day kindergarten (praise the Lord!)? Who is this woman who maps out behavior modification plans for her 5-year old’s sassy behavior and stocks the prize box with trinkets and trash that only little people will love? Who is this woman who trims the bushes and bags it all for yard-waste pick-up day? Who is this woman who falls asleep at 9pm after watching an hour of lame TV? Why, yes…it is me. Mom.