“Look at me. I am a beautiful butterfly” (Butterfly Series: Part 4).
So often I would ask myself if I were a good mother and if I were doing things “right”. That isn’t even to mention my underlying need and desire for perfection. I had a friend tell me that if I were even questioning if I were a good mother, it meant I was a good mom (Thanks, Danielle). I suppose the logic there is that asking yourself if you’re doing enough means you’re always searching for ways to improve. I am not the Charlotte York of motherhood. I will never pretend to be (it is wishful thinking) but I do have one piece of advice for mothers anywhere and everywhere. If you’re ever wondering if you’re a good mother, just remember that motherhood requires you to shift your priorities, not your identity and you- as you are- are the perfect mother for your child(ren).
I wish that were in a manual or an instruction guide. Even in all of the parenting advice (both solicited and unsolicited), no one told me to maintain my identity. No one told me it would get lost. No one mentioned I would lose my friends or my mind and they absolutely did NOT mention how difficult the journey would be just to find myself, and worse… rebuild myself.
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I wouldn’t be who I am without that battle. It was bloody. There was great loss (of identity and friendships, sanity, and sleep). I definitely wouldn’t be who I am without the people who helped pull me from the trenches of Postpartum depression, or the woes of motherhood. People and seasons. People and reasons.
Whether your faith is placed in the spirituality of the earth and Karma or God or gods, maybe it’s chance and fate, but I had to rebuild myself quicker than I ever thought possible. I had to let people go for reasons I never thought I would understand and somehow gained angels of my own to help me through it all. So whoever you call out to for guidance, strength, or wisdom… be sure to give thanks. Someday you might find yourself in the same shoes I was in, perhaps a size or two difference- isolated, depressed, and worried. So give thanks on the good days and through the bad. After a nasty storm, there is always a rainbow. Remember that.
Motherhood is heavy. The weight of it is not meant to be carried alone. Some people lean on their spouse. Some people have a soulmate and for most people, that is their spouse. For others, it’s their friends. I am going to pull another SATC (Sex and the City) quote here from the lovely Ms. Charlotte York, “Don’t laugh at me, but maybe we can be each other’s soulmates?” There is so much more to mom friends than meets the eye. We often find that we are bonded by more than just the word mom or the fact we are in the same parent pick-up line. In some cases, it’s our history, it’s our kids and their special needs. Sometimes it is a marriage or a divorce that brings people together. It could be the sleepless nights, the tear-filled days, and the vomit-covered clothes that bring us together.
I found it incredibly difficult to accept myself, my body, my new life. I felt like maybe I wouldn’t be where I am without those incredible ladies who saved me when I couldn’t save myself. The ones who talked some sense into me and the ones who helped me when I needed the help the most. There are some heavy burdens that mostly mothers carry so relying on one another is essential.
If there is anything I want to say to anyone who is reading this… IF anyone is reading this, just remember, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” – Albus Dumbledore.
Maybe motherhood is like walking around in the dark. We live carefree until we become mothers. We stumble, trip, and fall. We are prey until we isolate and protect ourselves. We form our chrysalis and then we break ourselves down. So the question is, what happens when you come out of that chrysalis? What happens when you finally turn on the light? You realize the battle was not for nothing. You realize the chrysalis made you stronger. You find that you’ve never been alone the whole time. You look into the mirror and in your own way… in your own right, you’re a beautiful butterfly.