The Mother I Wanted to be Versus the Mom I am Today

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Before becoming a mom, I held many ideas of the kind of mom I wanted to be for my children. I looked forward to the beauty motherhood is said to bring into your life and all its wonderful joys. I thought becoming a mom would come naturally, but just to be sure, I, like thousands of moms, read articles and books to validate from others that I was on the “right” path.

The Ugly Truth

Being a mom is hard! Trying to be the “best” mom is even more difficult! Just to be clear, loving my children is super easy, but if I’m going to be completely honest, at times I feel tested even in that arena. I would never do anything to harm my children. However, I will sulk in the middle of the living room and analyze my current situation. Wondering “how did I even get here?” Full-on toddler tantrums for no apparent reason, unless you consider getting a sippy cup of milk for the child who asked for it and all of a sudden they’re upset you gave it to them because they wanted Daddy to get it, not you, a good reason. Everyone has their threshold for tolerance and patience and perhaps mine is very low. Ok, I know overall I’m a pretty impatient person—but I’m working on that. We all have goals we can work towards. Unfortunately, my kids have seen a side of me I’ve never really known before having children. And that truth digs a hole in my heart.

Other Mothers Around Me

So, being the perfect mother doesn’t come naturally. That is true at least for me. I see moms out in public who seem to have it all together. I saw a mom at Costco with five (FIVE!) kids in tow BY HERSELF! And she appeared to have the calmest demeanor that I craved to have for myself with my two live-out-loud kids. I could not see myself in this woman. She seemed to know exactly what she’s doing and it showed because all five of her children were so well-behaved, from the infant on her back to the two preteens helping her shop. I, on the other hand, could barely keep my two kids entertained long enough to make it around to the next aisle.

While that mom at Costco may seem to have motherhood and parenting figured out it was but a snapshot of her day with five children! I’m reminded of these small details each time I have a moment to chat with another mother and exchange war stories of our stubborn strong-willed  kids. Having a community of mothers is such a powerful asset to our well-being. We remind one another that we aren’t alone in the day-to-day struggles of motherhood and we share what we do for “mommy time” to keep ourselves sane.

The Woman in the Mirror

Many, many, many times I have felt defeated by my abilities to be the mom I know my kids deserve. There are even more times I have cried knowing I could have done better. The beauty in all this darkness is that my children continue to be the brightest lights in my life. They’ve seen my dark side, which I’m so ashamed of, and they remain so full of love for this seemingly undeserving mother. These last couple of years for me have been filled with deep reflection. Going back to having a goal to work towards, having children who are loving and forgiving does not give me the right to continue to do them a disservice. I made it a priority to look within myself, determine my triggers and be conscious of my reactions during stressful times. Patience may often run low, however, the reaction that follows is always a choice.