Today a friend of mine was published for the first time. She was beyond excited, and her piece was a well-written, insightful, and inspiring one about her struggle to find and define herself and the unique quirks that make her the awesome person she is, while still “fitting in” with all of the other moms in our community.
Her piece got me thinking about my own struggles with self-identity. Outsiders looking in on my life will see what appears to be a near-perfect image. Our family is composed of a mom, dad, son, dog, and even a white picket fence out front of our house. My husband is gainfully employed and has (and continues to) experience much success in his career. He makes a good living and provides well for our family. To my husband’s credit, I am fortunate enough to have the privilege of staying home with our son, and freelance writing from home. We live in a beautiful, picturesque even, coastal community that time seems to have forgotten. Our little seaside village is a tight-knit community where everybody knows everybody and where you may feel comfortable allowing your child to ride his bike without the overwhelming urge to trail behind! We want for nothing, have great friends, and live comfortably. So what’s my problem?
Since I had my son nearly ten years ago I’ve been waiting. Waiting to feel like a “real mom.” I know, I know, I am a real mom because I am lucky enough to be the mother of one of the sweetest, kindest, and most compassionate little boys ever to grace God’s Green Earth. But I’ve never felt like the “other moms,” you know, the “normal moms” (or what I assume they feel). I hate the hustle and bustle of early school mornings (a night owl, I’ve never been a morning person), I loathe sitting in the freezing cold watching early Spring little league, and I dread the end of Summer every year because I literally miss my little guy while he’s at school. I don’t do bus stop chit-chat with a fancy mug of homemade coffee. In fact, most of the time my husband puts our son on the bus while I get myself together so I can get to Starbucks ASAP! I’ve never been to a PTA meeting, and I’ve chaperoned exactly one field trip in the five years that my son has been in school. Don’t get me wrong, being my son’s mother has brought me more joy than I knew possible. My son has completed me and filled my soul with a love so deep I can’t even begin to explain. But I’ve never been able to shake the feelings of inferiority and insecurity I feel when I compare myself to the “other moms.”
I always assumed I would just become one of the “regular moms,” when I had my son and as he grew older. Just as I’ve never miraculously turned into a morning person, I have yet to become one of the “normal” moms.
I still love the music of my teenage years. You’re likely to hear anything from Eminem to The Eagles to Jimmy Buffett blaring from my car as I cruise through the neighborhood. Do normal moms jam to Eminem? I’m not so sure…
While I haven’t grown into the role of a “normal” mom, I have grown into a place of self-acceptance. I am me and I’m good enough. I’m a loving, caring, fun, empathetic, and thoughtful mother and wife. My son is happy, healthy, and well-adjusted, and my marriage is strong. While I may never make it to the bus stop decked out in my yoga gear and sporting my mug of piping hot homemade java, you can be gauranteed I’ll be at that bus stop in the afternoon fully dressed with a fresh Starbucks in hand, and I’m okay with that!