How Motherhood Helped Me Find Myself

I have spent my entire life with the presumption that I knew who I was. I was the A student, the leader, the smart one, the good girl. I always had everything "just so" and never appeared to be bad at anything I tried, except sports, I was awful at sports. Perfectionism ran through my blood. There were always pristine check marks next to to-do list items because I never left anything undone. Even if I felt like I was losing it, I made sure it never showed. I was every parent's dream. Rarely did I disobey, never did I miss curfew, and I always hung around the right crowds. I cared so much about my image and how others perceived me that friends and people from my childhood got to know who I wanted to be, not who I actually was in my very core. Until recently, I only knew myself as that way too. I knew my image, I knew how others saw me, but I never knew myself, not until recently. Not until I became a mom.

The moment I found out I was pregnant there was a great internal shift inside of me. From the instant those two pink lines showed up on the most important test of my life, I realized that I was no longer in charge. There was this tiny little organism inside of me that now ruled the show. He would soon dictate what I ate, on which side of my body I slept on, and even what face wash I used. The control I held over my life quickly slipped out of my hands like sand seeping out of a tightly clenched fist. And for the first time in my life, I was okay with that.

Never until I became a mom did I truly look in the mirror and get a genuine hard look at myself. For the first time, I saw and accepted my shortcomings. I stopped fighting my inadequacies with perfectionism and I acknowledged them for what they are, faults. I'm not the best cook, I don't care if my laundry is perfectly folded and put away, and in a stressful "fight or flight" situation, I'll run like the wind every time. I have always had these imperfections, but I never wanted to admit it to myself. I think a large part of me was scared that if I was not perfect, I wouldn't be a good daughter, wife, or friend. But mom? I knew I'd be a good mom. I felt it in my very bones and while I occasionally had my doubts, I knew this was one area I wouldn't have to fake. I may not always care if every Lego is picked up and I may, on the occasion, give in to a tantrum and let my son have potato chips for breakfast, but I am a good mom. I am a good mom because I am doing everything in my power to raise a loving, kind, understanding, and accepting human being. Maybe my perfectionism left my brain because I became a mom, maybe it's because I stopped caring what others thought of me, or maybe it's because motherhood finally gave me the confidence I lacked all along. I am not less than because I am not perfect. I am exactly who my little boy needs me to be. And you know what mamas? You are exactly who your little ones need you to be too, imperfections and all.

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