There are certain things that really make me feel like a mom. Besides the rather compelling and unavoidable proof of a certain blonde three-year-old running around my house, I mean. And the nose checks for boogers, or discovering the just-in-case pair of training pants and wipes in my purse. Or the much more glamorous (to me) fact that, in moments of surprise or pain or cranks-on-the-whim, LittleBird wants only me to comfort her. These are indisputable evidence of mommydom.
But I’m talking about the things that sneak up on me, and are more than factual proof and evidence… the things that hit me, mid-stride and sort of refocus my perspective. I’m a mom.
Like, when we’re planning our week, and somehow, beyond all reasoning and extensive past records of personal disorganization, I’m the one who knows things. The preschool email address. Which babysitters have classes on what nights. Which doctor we like, and what they told us last year when LittleBird had the same problem.
Or like when I realize I’m cutting up the whole chicken, I mean really dismantling that thing. Just go with me. It’s important. See, previously, my idea of carving a chicken was to get the main pieces of meat off and chuck the rest, still looking basically… like a chicken. I always thought of my high school best friend refusing to eat chicken off the bone—“I hate eating things that look like they could be reassembled.”
These are the things that make me realize I have a lot of growing to do. Moms are the rolodexes of all family knowledge. At least mine is, and PortlandMom, and all my friends’ moms growing up. Moms get all the meat off the bone, and they don’t get grossed out, and some of them go that extra step and save the bones for a broth. Moms just… somehow take care of things. That last part scares me a little… because I also still like to be taken care of when I need it.
These are also the things that make me feel like I’m more than learning. Like, sometimes, when I’m wrist deep in a chicken or automatically reciting tuition payment schedules and pulling a pack of tissues out of my pocket , like an excessively organized and rather deranged magician… that’s exactly what being a mom is.
To my daughter, I am the woman my mom was to me, and still is. It’s a lot to live up to. But I’m a mom.
And the thing is, I don’t see this as the only thing I am. And thank god, neither does my husband. We are still ourselves, with ambitions and dreams outside of our family, and we are both working to see them through. But being Mom is the most important part of me right now.
And it’s nice to be reminded that I can be mom, and still be me, be whatever kind of mom I want, and it has nothing to do with the way I dress or cut my hair (I’ve had both the mom jeans and the mom haircut in the last 3 years, and there was nothing good happening there). I can be a mom who will be taking her girl to theatre for a couple of musical rehearsals, far too late for any semblance of a sensible bedtime. I can be a mom who forces Tennyson on a toddler and lets her watch too much TV and sometimes ruins two different batches of pancakes and spends too much time on my phone and the computer.
My mom wasn’t perfect either. But she was mom, and I always knew she would take care of things, somehow… take care of me. And now, for my daughter, that’s me.