On the day I became a mother I lost my heart.
It was placed in the care of a fussy pink bundle of joy with reddish hair and soon to be bright blue eyes. Before Ellie C. made her grand entrance two weeks early on a cold February night in Fairbanks, Alaska I thought I knew about true love. The moment the doctor placed her in my arms I realized I had no idea.
The love, fear, pain, pride, anxiety, hopes and dreams that arrived with our first born child were like nothing I had experienced in all my 30 years of life. I carried and birthed a living, breathing and screaming human being. It was such a simple concept, but it blew my mind. She had been a part of me.
As I cradled our newborn daughter I felt my mind begin to wander. It traveled to faraway scenarios that involved bullies, dates and driving. I was pre-worrying about a life our baby girl had yet to live. Instead of soaking in the sweetness of her being, I was bogging down my mind with worry. Worry became my constant companion, and I quickly overwhelmed my sleep deprived mind.
I wanted so badly to be perfect. The beautiful baby in my arms deserved perfection, and I was hell-bent on killing myself over an unattainable and unrealistic goal. I soon realized all the books, websites and mostly unsolicited advice had poorly prepared me for motherhood. My poor husband struggled with a hormonal wife and colicky newborn. We were a hot mess in cold Alaska.
Eventually, the temperature rose, the baby slept and I felt human again. Two years later we brought home another pink bundle of joy, Molly E., and she too stole my heart. I began to trust my instincts and accept there is no perfect mother. The perfect mom is a lot like Big Foot. She is elusive. There are rumors, sightings and pictures floating in cyberspace, but no one has ever had a proven face to face experience.
I have been a mom for 15 years now. I continually find ways I own this motherhood gig, and many more ways I am failing miserably. I learned I would make mistakes, and experience some hard lessons. I found the seasons of motherhood are ever-changing and have the ability to bring me to my knees or fill me with indescribable joy and overflowing pride. It is a fine line between success and failure. The stakes are staggeringly high, but I cannot imagine not being Mom, Momma, Mommy, Ma or MOOOOOM!
The most valuable nugget of wisdom I have gleaned from this carnival ride I call motherhood is the understanding my girls do not need perfection, they need me. I am their mom and they have my heart; imperfections and all.
“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” ~ Jill Churchill