Motherhood

I Was Never Meant to Be a Mother


Sitting in the waiting area of my daughter’s pediatrician’s office, I was surrounded by two mothers who were breastfeeding their babies. I reflected on my own breastfeeding experiences and was reminded that if formula, bottles, and sanitary water hadn’t been developed, both my girls might have died in infancy.

I was also reminded of my c-sections – necessary to birth both my babies. My body couldn’t accommodate my girls’ big heads and they were both stuck mid-way. Without the help of anesthesia, sanitary tools, and quality medical care, I may have died along with my first born and my second born wouldn’t have even been a possibility.

I was struck with the realization that I was never meant to be a mother.

A Less-than Mother

For some time I carried these physical inadequacies with me wherever I went. They were strapped to my back like a hermit crab’s shell. I had entwined myself so tightly to those failed motherhood rites of passage that they became a part of me. I questioned my legitimacy as a mother, wondering how else I would fail.

"Guilt to motherhood is like grapes to wine." Quote on motherhood and mom guilt by Fay Weldon. Read how I overcame my mom-guilt about labor, delivery, and breastfeeding at MiddayMornings.com

Mom Guilt and Comparison

There are so many opportunities to feel guilty as a parent. As Lori mentioned last week, it’s easy to compare your version of motherhood with another’s. I used to beat myself up for not being as creative, stylish, flexible, structured, or energetic as other moms.

While other moms hauled their kids to every splash pad, children’s museum, and Mommy-and-Me activity they could, I had to psyche myself up for even one of these events. I knew Elle was pretty antsy when it came to splash pads and the effort to get us there was only half of the effort it took to coax her into the shooting streams of water. Children’s museums are loud and very busy and Elle isn’t the obnoxious squeaky wheel kind that shoves herself to the front of the line to pet the starfish or stand in the middle of a tornado. Mommy-and-Me activities seemed to be less about the moms and their kids and more like moms taking the opportunity to socialize with other moms.

When I compared myself to other moms, I never felt like I fit in or measured up.

Just Being Me

I quickly learned that comparing my motherhood to others’ was getting me nowhere fast. I wasn’t a happier mother when I tried to be like them. After the splash pad and the museum and the activities, I didn’t even feel like I was a better mother.

So I stopped.

I exchanged the splash pads for video games. Elle and I love playing video games with each other and watching each other play. We share these beautiful, complicated, imaginative worlds together and they have given us opportunities to talk, bond, and learn.

Instead of going to children’s museums we go to our local library – and we go almost every week. The library is one of the only places Elle knows I’ll say “yes” to just about anything, so it’s a relaxing, fun experience for us both.

We swapped out the Mommy-and-Me activities and play dates for Mommy-Daughter dates. We take our shared love of food, craft stores, and anything else we’re into at the time and spend a few hours together – just us.

There's no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. Quote on motherhood by Jill Churchill. Read how I found this to be true the hard way at MiddayMornings.com

Rock Your Motherhood

Maybe you’re the splash pad, children’s museums, play dates kind of mom. That’s awesome! Maybe you’re the children’s museums, library, and bike riding kind of mom. Great! Maybe you’re a crafting, baking, and playground kind of mom. Super! The point is: rock your own motherhood and don’t compare. Your kids need you to be their mother. Don’t let a tendency to compare rob you of your chance to teach your children about authenticity.

Practice building yourself up instead of tearing yourself down. (For an example of how to do this, check out my review of The Science of Positivity under the subheading “Social Threats.”) Consider letting you be you and letting you be good enough.

We Were Meant to Be Mothers

However you found yourself on this crazy journey called motherhood, know that you – and I – were meant for this. We can learn how to better our motherhood, practice and refine our skills for the rest of our lives, and make daily choices of acceptance, grace, and determination.

Your kids will learn the lessons you can uniquely teach them.

"Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are." Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Read my story of finding peace in my motherhood at MiddayMornings.com

If you are a mama who is unable to or choose not to breastfeed, I recommend reviewing this infant formula guide at Reviews.com. They contacted me to let me know about their research and I am happy to share this comprehensive resource with you. In 2007 we had Elle on regular Similac and she did great on it. In 2016 we switched Addie to Enfamil Gentlease because she was spitting up a ton. The Gentlease formula seemed to help reduce the spit-up as well as decrease overall fussiness.

If this post was inspiring or helpful at all, please consider sharing.

I coudn't birth my girls vaginally. I couldn't breastfeed. Sometimes I wondered if I could make it as a mother. Click to read how I finally realized I was absolutely meant to be a mother at MiddayMornings.com
Stop comparing yourself to other mothers. You are the mom your kids need. #motherhood #howtobeabettermom
If you weren't able to breastfeed your babies, you should read this post. #nojudgment #goodmom

13 thoughts on “I Was Never Meant to Be a Mother

  1. I absolutely love this post and your heart behind it. I may not be a mom yet, but the comparison game is no stranger to popping up in everyday life in every aspect. In the age of Pinterest-perfect moms and Instagram, it can be even intimidating to think about starting a family. The constant ‘what if I won’t be a great mom’ thought nagging in the back of your mind. I’m going to flag this post for that someday I’ll need a reminder, so thank you. <3

  2. i love this post! i’m not a mother yet but isn’t it amazing how the comparison game can strike in just about any aspect of our lives? I’m so glad that you were able to find what worked for you and your family and forget what was trendy or expected. Screw that! You sound like an amazing mother – I would love library dates and craft stores! Your children are lucky to have you!

    1. Your comment made me smile, Tara. Thanks! It’s so true about comparisons haunting us at any stage of life. I have a hunch you’re going to be an awesome mom. 🙂

  3. It’s so hard not compare our situation to others. It’s.just.so.hard. 🙂 But comparison is the thief of joy. Thanks for being an awesome mom and doing the things with your children that they love most!

  4. I love this. So honest and thoughtful. I’m not a mom but it seems like there’s so much pressure to be the perfect do-everything mom, that seems crazy to me! I would think the most important thing you can do is just be there for your child. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. I feel like there’s so much pressure on everyone to be everything. Do your hair and makeup like this. Fit into that size pants. Make this much income. Drive this kind of car. Go to this many parties. Drink this much coffee and/or wine. lol Seems like everything is a competition these days – motherhood is no exception. Thanks for the comment, Deryn.

  5. I can totally relate to this. I’m a stay at home mom of a 1 year old and I question my ability everyday. It’s way to easy to compare yourself to other moms, especially all the “perfect moms” on Instagram. This post is a great reminder to focus on my child and her needs.

    1. I felt like I was in this pit of supposed inadequacy until my first was about 4. (It can take me a long time to snap out an unrealistic paradigm.) Instagram and Pinterest can definitely be sources of intimidation. Why does my dirty hair “mom bun” just look dirty instead of that mom’s super cute one? lol I’m sure you’re doing a fabulous job, Steph. Keep on keeping on, mama – your little one will love you for it.

  6. Too often we allow ourselves to feel like we are failures because we are not measuring up to other moms! It’s okay to be the kind of mom your kids need! Sometimes just giving yourself permission to be who you are can make a difference. That mental thought process does more than I think we understand!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *