I wake up every day to a little face saying ‘Good Morning Momma, we woke up today”. My heart gets flooded with love to the brim, pours out of my chest and through my limbs until I have no choice but to tackle her. “How many kisses do you want today?” I ask every morning. “So many!” she says.
The third thought, after coffee of course, as I get up to start my day is ‘where the hell did you come from’?! I believe you’re a mother far before your child gets here but after being a mom now for almost 3 years, I still blink in amazement that I have her every day. I have this little human being talking, giggling and driving me crazy! She has my face, my ability to love and my level of stubbornness…how did she get here? That question is less about the birds and the bees and the physicality of how she got here but more about me.
I had Bailey at 29 years. Not too young but also still settling into who I was as a person. Suddenly as a mother, we are taught we have to redefine ourselves. I don’t use the term suddenly lightly. Nothing can prepare you for the transformation both physically and mentally you go through you when you become a mother. Everything feels sudden. There are so many labels we wear, so many stereotypes to mold to or against; you can’t go out late, you’re a mom. You can’t wear that, you’re a mom. You can’t have a career, you’re a mom. The list goes on and frankly, it gets much worse. As mothers we have to do it all and be it all. The pressure is immense. There is something that you are fighting for, planning for and working for every single minute of the day. You are working in your sleep, if you are getting any at all. But what about you?
Yes, you. The mother. What about you? What about what you originated out for? What about how you feel every day? How’s your health? How is your confidence? How is your social life? Your love life? Your dreams? Your career? If you are thinking, well, what about me? You aren’t the only one. I meet women every day, who stop their lives with the justification that they are too busy being a parent.
Being a mother is the most consuming role on earth and let’s assume for the sake of this post that every mother reading this is the most dedicated, most caring and most amazing mother there is that will always put their child first. Here is where the ‘but’ comes in…for my generation and the generation that we are raising, what your child really needs is a happy, well adjusted and confident woman. So go for the promotion, take the long way home for an extra five minutes to yourself, take the time to put on lipstick and sip your coffee slow. Your child needs to see you go for your dreams because it will encourage them to reach for theirs. I know that none of you plan to raise average children, right? Susie will obviously be President of the United States. Bobby is going to be a doctor. Obviously.
I am certainly not an expert. As a single parent and career driven mom, I struggle with balance every day but what I am, is happy. My daughter feels that, she feeds off my energy and my enthusiasm for all things I am able to share with her in this life. I have no plans to give her a normal life, just an extraordinary one. And it all starts with me.
Photos taken at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, New York by Paul Joseph Resignato.