In the dawn before motherhood, I envisioned my future endeavors as clear days at coffee houses, giggling baby in one arm, essential day planner in the other, securely surrounded by chatty mothers scheduling out trips to the park.
But this, it turns out, is not my identity in motherhood.
I am not a mom who has playdates in the park. My day planner is bare of monthly Bunco nights with other mothers. In fact, I’m not even sure what Bunco is.
The latest trends, err, the outside world is now an enigma to me. I am not a trendy mom. I tried once, scrolling through news feeds in the wee hours before my children arose, but inevitably, the snooze button became a larger temptation than yet another article depicting idiotic acts with Tide Pods.
Tide Pods I use to wash my standard mother attire: activewear. Not the vivid print styles from designers like Kate Hudson. I sport pilling and faded black leggings from Target, remnants of my college days. The decade since has dwindled my stock down to two pairs without holes—one for Saturday, one for Sunday. It works.
Saturdays pass while I remain tucked away indoors. My husband eagerly awaits the opportunity to support a girls’ night out, if only to see his wife dressed in high-fashion clothes, but alas I have no girls to have a night out with. I am not a hip mom.
I am just a mom.
As was my mother.
As a child, my mother taught me how to glue dyed macaroni onto construction paper and catch bugs with old baby food jars, though she never blogged about it. Nor did her ideas stem from Pinterest. She lacked even a subscription to Home and Garden Magazine. She was endlessly consumed with diverting her two toddlers’ energies into something that wasn’t coloring on the walls. Or buttering our pet rabbit.
I secretly ached to be more than just a mother. To be the mother who proved to the world what a mother could be.
Naturally career-driven, I attempted to be the suit wearing, stilettoed, career mom, but I often twisted my ankle hustling into the daycare and found I could never find enough time to wash my hair. I am not an executive mother.
A longtime runner, I focused my identity around running until mile 10 of a half marathon, I visualized my family having breakfast without me and realized I’d rather be cleaning my son’s eggs off the tile than pounding the pavement.
I am no longer the marathon mom.
I wanted desperately to belong to some niche in the mom world, to be a part of a community of mothers. Jealous of the ease in which they breezed through motherhood together, but it appears I am just a mom.
Ordinary. Like my mother.
My mother gave herself over to raising children. She worked and raised babies. She did both with no fanfare or glory. That was her life. She didn’t drink wine on playdates or have many friends. Motherhood was, I’m sure, like 18 years of whitewater rafting, solo—while my father cheered her on from the shore, maybe even tossed her some extra paddles.
I devoted endless energy dissecting what type of mom she was; in the end though, my brain continually lands on, “She was just a good mom.”
And that she was. An amazing, supportive, present mother.
Maybe that’s enough.
When my children are grown, and I look back at the years, I will probably wish I had logged more miles, completed more hobbies, and had more friends. Maybe even worn brightly-printed activewear to the local coffee shop. But as for what type of mother I hope I was, the answer is becoming clear.
I hope I am like my mom, just an ordinary mom. A good mom.
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