Motherhood is a place

I don’t think anyone can really claim to be an expert on something like motherhood. “Why?” you ask. Oh, well, let me give a metaphor. Hmmm. Okay. Think of motherhood like a designer dress pattern. It’s a really hot, trendy pattern that a lot of women want and buy only to realize that it’s missing directions and lines to cut. If we all buy the pattern, we think we should get the same dress, but will we? Will we? Hmmm? No. Does that make sense? Mmmm. No. I didn’t think it did. So, let’s move on.

The point is that I’m not an expert on motherhood at large, but I do feel confident to say that I’ve passed my test as a mom to my two kids. I’ve earned the honorary badges that come from two years in motherhood. I’ve braved potty training and leaving the house with two children, and I know that when my baby sounds like a bald eagle in the middle of the night, it’s because she’s teething. Usually. So, yeah, I’m not a capital “M” motherhood expert, but, right now, and to make myself look good, I’m going to pretend like I am an expert.

So, when deciding to write this page on motherhood, I thought I’d do the same. I’m going to name drop. Here are some quotes on motherhood from famous people:

“Mothers are all slightly insane.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. -Meryl Streep

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. -Oprah Winfrey

“I’m excited to be a MILF.” – Snooki.

Okay, know that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about motherhood, and what it is.

Motherhood is place. This blog is written from a woman in that place. If you know a woman in this place, then you know a woman who has peed in her pants when laughing or jumping, who has made mistakes. You know a woman who has cried in a bathroom, who has been made humble, who has doubts. You know a woman who loves…deeply.

I write a lot about motherhood on this blog because it’s the thing that’s defined my life as a growing woman. I put “woman” into this because I think when most talk about motherhood they forget to acknowledge that mothers are women. It’s usually woman v. mom, but not on this blog. On this blog womanhood is a continuum, and motherhood exists on that continuum.

This is not a “mommy” blog in that sense. It’s the blog of a woman whose experiences in motherhood have colored her voice and experiences. Being a mother led me to writing and photography and a kind of gutsiness that I never knew as a self-conscious, beauty obsessed younger woman. So, yes, I think motherhood is big. But there’s more to me than just being a mom.

New Moms Start Here

Okay, so now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s start at the beginning. If you are a new mom reading this, I want to begin by saying congratulations. Since you’re new, you may want to start here with my 100 mommy lessons.

If you are breastfeeding and are having a hard time and want to know there is light at the end of the tunnel, read these posts. If you think you are suffering from postpartum depression, but are afraid of the title and have, as result, convinced yourself that something is just wrong with you, read these posts. If you are struggling to lose your baby weight, eat some cheese, don’t get on the scale for a month, and read these posts.

When you become a mom…

When you become a mom, your eyes open to a world of that you’ve long known has existed but that you were only a spectator to from afar. I “knew” about women who called themselves moms from growing up on Oprah. I knew about deferred dreams and mom jeans and sleep deprivation and changed gender roles, but it wasn’t until I got to the place of motherhood that I really “got” it.

And I think this is true of most moms. “You can’t get it until you get it.” Yes, this is motherhood. When you’re a new mom, you want to be friends with parents at the park and get special treatment from police officers, because now that you’re here, you get it. You begin to see yourself differently. How you see yourself is discussed on this blog with posts like this one, this one, and this one.

And when you become a mom, you get other moms better. Or, you can get other moms better.

How Can I Be a Better Mom?

Motherhood is something that you must learn by doing. The books, those glorious 200-page books on how to be a great mom are mostly useless. They’re useless because, and as you’ll soon learn (if you haven’t already), once you become a mother, you learn that to be the best at this, you must trust the sensations in your gut. The best mother is already within you. Alright. I know. That sounds hooky, so in effort to retain my coolness in your eyes, let’s stop there. But, between me and you, it’s so true.

To do well in motherhood, you must learn to let go, to accept your limitations, your humanness. You must ask for help. You must love the job your doing as mom and forgive yourself. You must continue to dream and value yourself as a woman.

How should I value myself as a woman?

Well, to begin, take off those stained pajama pants and get dressed for the day. Yes, your life is very full right now, but you must still make an effort to hold on to the parts of yourself that make you happy.

So, welcome to motherhood.