Finding the “I” in “MOM”


To be honest I was never sure that I should to be a Mom. I don’t mean that to sound harsh, I just never saw myself being much good at it and if you’ve ever witnessed my attempt at any sort of sport then you know I don’t put 100% into things I’m not good at. (I use sports as an example because I am 100% not good at 100% of them.) Being a Mom, to me, was like high school track, a terrifying failure!

Of course I knew what I was good at. I was good at my job. I was good at traveling to tropical islands. I was good at wearing fancy high heels…to both work and on tropical islands. I was good at Wii Rockband and I was good at enjoying quiet time by myself. Unfortunately these things just didn’t go well with a baby and why ruin a good thing? Why ruin all those fancy dinners that my high heels and I were so good at going to by adding a newborn baby asleep in a car seat at my feet, knowing that regardless of the dress code, the minute he wakes up the only thing he will want is my boobs…or a one year old in a high chair, throwing carrot sticks at the annoyed strangers nearby…..or a two year old who refuses to sit in the high chair, watching a movie on my phone while those same strangers shoot me dirty looks (so I want to throw carrot sticks at them)….or a three year old who purposely drops the crayons on the floor because it’s much more fun to go under the table and explore the land of old food and dirty floor than it is to sit and just color a picture. No thanks, a nice, quiet table in the 21+ year old section works for me.

But (and you knew there was one…) funny things happen when you’re a girl. People say things and expect things and, even worse, you actually begin to want those things. It all just sneaks up on you really, and 9 months later, BAM! (a very literal bam there…) there’s a baby! And BAM! I’m Mom!

My baby was weird but he was perfect! He drove me crazy but he rocked my world! He was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me and yet I haven’t once slept or eaten the same since. (Fun fact; Moms are proven to eat a meal in 1/5 the time Dads do) My baby was not a terrifying failure at all! He was rad…if only I were too. While praising (and posting) so much of my baby’s awesomeness I learned that the job of Mom was the terrifying failure part. Sometimes it was even worse than high school track. Maybe volleyball!! (Chills down my spine! Those shorts….)

While my baby was the light of my life I found myself caught in a job that I didn’t do so well. Where was my month end quota or opportunity for a raise? And where were my freakin’ high heels?! I felt like there were so many things that I couldn’t do right. I couldn’t get my son to eat right (despite receiving countless amounts of advice on the subject). I couldn’t get my son to poop right (despite receiving countless amounts of advice on the subject) (side note, I couldn’t even say that word prior to child birth. Oh, those were the days!). Sometimes (usually an hour past his projected bedtime) I would just lose my tolerance for even the smallest things (“I’m not going to read that shark book again. I don’t care about lemon sharks. I now hate sharks. Wait, I now even hate lemons!” “No, I don’t know where your red tooth brush is, use the blue one. Isn’t blue your favorite color or was that hour long conversation on why the color blue is your favorite a complete waste of my time? ). I envied my friends who seemed to be doing it all so much better. Ones who could breastfeed for 16 months or make their own baby food or didn’t own a tv or took their 6 month old camping…and liked it! My baby was perfect but my job at Mom-ing was not.

Now, in my constant (see also; naïve) quest to find the positive in life, I have realized that I was wrong. “Mom” isn’t a job. It doesn’t have a job description that some HR deems the appropriate way to raise a successful child. There’s no user’s manual in your child’s glove box – and spoiler alert, they also don’t come with a glove box or any storage at all. Even if they have 6 pockets and a backpack, you will have to carry all that they need in your own hands. And since we are kind of on the glove subject, putting gloves on them is a bitch!) It’s not a hobby or even a lifestyle that you try to stick to. “Mom” is a name. It’s a name that belongs to a woman who is just as unique and individual and perfect and flawed and absolutely crazy and completely wonderful as her child is.

If our children were to give themselves as hard of a time for their small failures and minor weaknesses that we moms do to ourselves, it would devastate us! We teach our kids to embrace their differences and then we belittle ourselves for our own. The fact is that I am happy to have friends who made enough breast milk to feed a small village. Friends who made their own baby food and made babies who would actually eat it! I’m thankful for my TV-less mom friends. For my mom friends who have succeeded in both parenting and in the work force. For my mom friends who have succeeded in both parenting and leaving the work force. Knowing all of these perfectly different women helps me be who I am. I am sure to have my own set of strengths (let’s not get crazy! I’m not that far along in my positive Mom thought…) It’s perfect that Charlie’s Mom is different than all the other Mom’s in the world. I found the “I” in “MOM”. I am her.


Erin Messel



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