I have to admit right off the bat, I was never a little girl that longed to be a mom. I never had a huge desire to be a mom. Frankly, I never thought I'd be that good at it. As mother's day rolls around there are a lot of feelings about how this day should be celebrated but I'm here to advocate for all the ones who question if it's right for them, who feel bad if it isn't and those who just aren't sure how they are doing!
1) It isn't for everyone
And that's OK!! For whatever reason, this society places a lot of emphasis on a certain "life" as a woman and it often includes being a mom as some significant title. While I'm not saying it's not of significance, it's just not required for validity. I don't regret that I have kids not but be respectful of how you respond to people that aren't choosing that. "You'll change your mind someday". If I'm being honest, if I hadn't gotten pregnant young I may not have made that decision but given the circumstances I decided it was God's plan for me to consider something different and it truly has changed my life. It doesn't mean it's for everyone. Ultimately, having children should be a choice and not a lock-step progression in life. Children are a lifelong responsibility, and the decision to have them should not be driven by societal pressure or be an attempt to fix an unhappy life. While it is natural for many women to desire children, there will always be the few who truly do not long to become mothers, and it should be okay to admit this and not be judged, excluded, or reprimanded.
2) Not everyone has "motherly instincts"
Some women are natural care givers. That doesn't mean the rest of us can't BECOME one. SO MUCH of what your instincts are dependent on, is in your habits and experience. It's not always "instinct". Some things you just learned along the way. Some things are built out of habit. When I left the hospital with my daughter, I was scared because I didn't have this overwhelming "motherly" feeling. I thought "how could they have let me leave with her?". As time went on and I failed enough to learn a lot, my "instincts" became more developed and ingrained. Most people aren't fully "ready" for kids no matter what they say. Everyone is scared in one way or another. Your instinct or lack thereof won't determine your success rate.
3) Some how you find your way
In the era of shaming (and being a daughter of a former preacher), being young, having an unplanned, unwedded pregnancy was unthinkable . Statistically, nearly 45% of all pregnancies are “unintended”, so whatever. I got questions like “Weren’t you on birth control?” as if that would create validation for my child's existence. And yes, yes I was. While the world was trying to figure this all out, so was I. I never babysat. I had no experience whatsoever. Yet somehow she has survived. Admittedly I had THE BEST daycare mom and if it wasn't for her, I personally may not have survived, but you figure it out. You know they need food and sleep. You can read about whats safe and when to do things and do your best! AND THAT IS AWESOME! Keep reading for the advice that makes this all ok.
4) There aren't very many "wrong" ways.
This image cracked me up (assuming she was ok) because we make mistakes. Sometimes we make our kids cry. We've been the mom with the "deer in headlights" look at a school function when you realize you are the only parent who forgot your kids show and tell. I'm a firm believer in that the only "wrong" way is doing nothing or not trying at all. Sometimes you nail it on the head, and sometimes you learn. I was always worried I would screw up my kids if I was late at starting them on solids, I took away the nap at the wrong age, or that my discipline will scar them for life. But you learn as you go, you grow as you learn. Even if you screwed up daily, the last thing here makes all the difference!
5) More than anything, you just need to show up.
It's true what they say. 90% is just showing up. I read this article about going to all your kids games and why its important. While life happens and we can't make it work all the time, this is so much more than just having a familiar face in the crowd. It speaks volume about consistency and stability for your child. We struggle to be that "perfect" mom which is a total waste of time. I suck at baking anything, Pinterest is basically the only reason I'm creative in any kids activities and sometimes I just want a break from them, but I make my presence and dependability in their lives known. I may be late to the game but they know I'll always be there. You don't have to make the perfect cookies, you don't even have to cook, just show up the best way YOU know how!
To the mamas and the papas who continue to show up to their best ability,
this one’s for you.