May 14, 2014

Arriving at Motherhood

It's been fifteen months since I became a mother. Clearly this is a new adventure for me, yet I've logged enough days now that I feel much more settled in my newest role in life.

Motherhood has been an extraordinarily beautiful process for me--so pure and simple but also vastly complex all at once. As with anything in life, it has its highs and lows. But the highs are so utterly blissful and wondrous that it makes the lows seems almost non-existent for me.

I struggle with what I perceive to be a culture of negativity surrounding motherhood or parenthood today. It's exacerbated all the more by social media outlets. Part of this negativity--the pressures, the awful competitiveness, and comparisons between mothers--I didn't know existed prior to becoming a mother, and I'm so thankful I didn't. I think that without necessarily meaning to do so, our society somewhat discourages twenty and thirty-somethings from becoming parents.

So if I'm being perfectly honest with you, I held many negative expectations about what my life would be like as a mother before I arrived here. Part of it came from the oh-so-thoughtful comments we'd gotten during my pregnancy: "Sleep now, while you can!", "Your time is not your own anymore", or my favorite, "Do such and such now because you'll never be able to do that again!" Thanks to comments like that combined with other outside influences, I arrived at this idea that my identity as a mother would be a woman who was insanely sleep-deprived, unkempt and frumpy, wearing clothing covered in something disgusting, frazzled, grumpy, unorganized, and desperately trying to balance a million spinning plates as she keeps all her household duties and somehow contributes to the household income as well.

I'm still perplexed at how I came to believe these extremes. It certainly didn't come from the example of my own mother {whom I believe to be the epitome of the perfect mom}, and I grew up surrounded by classy women who were also the opposite of what I just described above. I'm sure I was influenced by a plethora of factors, some being my own fears. Yet I somehow can't help feeling that I'm not alone--that other women out there have had these exact same expectations of motherhood which lead to feelings of hesitancy in wanting to take the plunge and start families of their own.

It makes me really mad when I think about it. I'm mad because I feel that despite my own positive observations of mothers I know personally, society and the media still succeeded in planting seeds of doubt in my mind about whether or not it would be worth it to become a mother. And I'm angry because that image of motherhood I wrestled with is so very different from what I'm actually experiencing.

If I could, I would shout it from the rooftops that becoming a mother is beyond a shadow of a doubt one of the best things I have ever done in my life--one of the things that has brought me more joy and happiness than I could have ever imagined. I desperately wish my words could convey how much more deeply I enjoy life each day because I am a mother to our precious daughter.

And you know what? Life is quite different now than before we had Makenna. BUT... I sleep through the night. I shower every day and take time to look presentable even for a quick trip to the grocery store. I still have downtime for myself as well as quality time with my husband. I still have time for hobbies. I can still conquer housework and social obligations. I still have big dreams for myself outside of motherhood. And most importantly, I still feel like me, just a better version of myself because of all the lessons I've learned since becoming a mother. I'm still the same Deanne.

I know that if God grants us further children, life will get busier and feel much more of a challenge than does life with one child. It's taken me time to learn how to be a mother of one, but I now have confidence knowing that though it will also take time, I can learn how to be a mother of two.

I'm still learning, day by day, how to navigate this journey of being a mom. I love everything it encompasses, all the highs and lows. And I realize now that one of the best things I have done in my life was to listen to the little tug in my heart that was calling me to motherhood. I can't even begin to imagine missing out on all my life is now, all the love and joy that fills my heart in its purest form.


Abby said...

This is so beautiful, and I think it's a message many people need to see. Thanks for sharing it here. :)

Deanne Perry said...

Thank you, Abby!

Renee Moss said...

This makes me smile! You've proven yourself to be an excellent mom, over and over. Makenna is a blessed little girl to have you! Motherhood is one of life's best journeys...even after 30+ years. Love being YOUR mom!!


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