When I was pregnant with my oldest son Jacob I found myself inexplicably attracted to flowery, flowing Laura Ashley-styled maternity dresses. To me they screamed “BLISSFUL MOTHER FROLICKING WITH HER CHILD IN FIELD OF DAISIES.” They seemed to epitomize all that the Ideal Mother should be, and down deep somewhere I think I thought putting one on would help me transform into that Ideal Mother.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I am no kind of Ideal Mother, at least not in the sense that I fantasized about all those years ago. What I am is, well, me–and the more “me” I can bring to motherhood, the closer I get to my own version of ideal. (Which, as it turns out, has never once included putting on a flowing dress and skipping through a daisy field.)
Have you ever found yourself trying to force yourself into a certain image of motherhood, even if it doesn’t jive with your personality…or even reality?
We all have our mom strengths and superpowers. Maybe you’re the mom who always has the ingredients for chocolate-chip cookies on hand and is willing to use them. Or the mom who always has time to listen to a child’s knock-knock joke. Or the one who will work tirelessly to help your kid pull off the best Science Fair project his 3rd-grade class has ever seen.
In chapter 4 of The Happiest Mom, I advise readers to “Keep it real.” You’re not going to magically change into a board game lover or arts and crafts director just because you had children. Keeping it real means bringing the person you really are into your experience of motherhood, rather than trying to become somebody you’re not to fit your own personal “Ideal Mom” fantasy.
But it can also mean allowing motherhood to change you a little, maybe even improve you, in that gentle, natural way it can if you let it. Not forcing yourself to become a completely different person than you were pre-kids, but being open to new approaches and some of the new experiences that having children brings.
Did you ever have an “Ideal Mom” fantasy that turned out to just not be, well, you? Can you think of ways motherhood has changed you for the bettter?
*The other day, I posted about the “Tiger Mom” approach to parenting, and a few readers felt I was too judgmental. I’m mulling over the comments now, and will be writing a follow-up post tomorrow or Wednesday.
*The release date for The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets To Enjoying Motherhood has been moved up! Pre-order now, and you should have the book within the next week or so.