Ladies of the Round Table

June 1, 2008

What if?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stacy @ 3:32 am

First of all, everyone, let me please apologize for being so completely MIA in this group for a while.  I was so excited that Melinda allowed me to be added, to be a part of a group of bloggers who have so often taught, inspired, amused and supported me over the past couple of years.  I promise to be more present again going forward!

The topic of motherhood is so relevant to me these days.  My daughter Delaney turned four months old on Mother’s Day, so there has been a lot of reflection happening.  I’ve had about five different posts in my head to write this month – some I really would like to get done, but that I just haven’t been able to find the calm and composure to tackle.  I’ve had this post in one form or another written for a while – but then things would be going so smoothly and it seemed ridiculous to post.  Then things would become more challenging again (uh, tonight) and I’m almost too scared to admit it all “out loud.”  Since this topic seems to be foremost on my mind lately, and certainly relates to the monthly topic, this what you get.  I’m already thinking about the June topic though as I think that’s something I can sure speak to as well!

Jen’s post this month truly spoke to me.  I, too, somehow expected that I was going to have it all figured out from the start, I’d be supermom because I was just. that. awesome.  No stress or frustration for me.  Sleep deprivation?  No biggie – I worked overnights not long ago for a job and that had to be worse than mommy sleep deprivation (ha – wrong, so wrong).  Of course because I waited so long and worked so hard to finally become a mom, I would have this natural, inherent ability to handle whatever was thrown my way with grace and ease.

I know, you’re all laughing now.  Rolling out of your chairs, tears streaming down your face, pure laughter.  What can I say, I love to be able to amuse others.  It’s a bit of a gift.

I think in these past four months, Delaney has almost had two moms (well, I mean, she does, her birthmom and me, so I guess I should say three moms) – the good mom and the mean, irrational mom.  I will say, the mean, irrational mom almost exclusively shows her face only in times of great sleep issues with either baby or mama.  But I don’t like that mama and I would like her to take a hike.  She gets too easily frustrated when a baby wakes up extra early or fights going to bed for hours (yeah, tonight and last night, for example) – or refuses to take a decent nap for the whole day.  I’m not sure what good the mean mama thinks it will do to get frustrated or maybe yell once in a while, but that’s what she does.  When happy mom is back, she vows never to let herself get that frustrated again, ever (yep, go ahead and laugh, I’ll pause for a moment).

I know that we are making progress, big progress.  And I do love this baby with all of my heart, I truly do.  The way she smiles at me or does silly things to make me laugh bring tears to my eyes – the good kind of tears.  I can’t believe after waiting 39 years to finally become a mom that I am graced with this beautiful baby girl.  I do believe I am a good mom, am capable of being a good mom.  I just have some work to do.  I am making progress in that regard too – when I can take a step back to appreciate how lucky I really am, to keep perspective that overall things are going well, then I can handle it pretty well.  I just wish I could do it more consistently.

On the tough days, the fears take hold.  I have dreamed most of my life of becoming a mom – I really have truly believed it is what I am meant to do with my life.  The job I work now, the house I live in, many of the other choices I made were with becoming a mom in mind.  I knew that parenting would be hard, adoptive parenting would be challenging, being a single mom would be tough in ways I couldn’t imagine, and that becoming a trans-racial family would present many new experiences both good and bad.  But my biggest fear?  To become my mother.  Yep, that simple – I did not want to turn into my mother.  Now, to explain that in full would take a lot of room and was the post I meant to get done the first month of the site, but it wasn’t turning out the way I wanted and then the clock struck April and to a new topic.  I’m still hoping to tackle it.  But it boils down to that – I did not want to be the kind of mother my mom was.

At times though, lately, I realized there is a bigger fear I never imagined worrying about.  What if I wasn’t meant to be a mother at all?  What if I am so lousy at it that I’m even worse than everything I originally feared?  That keeps creeping into my head when mean mama rears her head – what if the one thing I spent years planning, working toward and dreaming of I was never meant to do?  I think I’ve mostly worked away from that fear as things have gotten a bit better with the sleep and mean mama, but then I worry – am I going to be a fair-weather mom?  Thrilled and good at being a mom when things are easy, and mean and bad when things are rough?  Or if I think this is hard, what happens when things really get hard (ah, the fears of raising a girl through teenhood in today’s society – something I already am terrified of and spend way too much time thinking about)?  Most of the time I think I’m doing pretty well but there have been moments, way more of them than I want to admit, where I am scared that I am not a good mom.  Not the mom this baby deserves, not the mom her birthmother dreamed of for her.

Those moments are becoming fewer and farther in-between, but they are definitely still there.  I am, like many of us, one of those people who expects a lot of themselves, often more than they can reasonably keep up with, so it is simply in my nature to expect a lot and be very hard on myself for falling short.  Like Jen, I see my baby thriving, excelling even, so I hope (I do believe, but sometimes just hang onto hope) that for the most part I am that mother I hoped and expected to be.  I think I just didn’t expect to have as much doubt in myself as I do. 

I think what I’ve come up with about being a mom is that when it’s good (which is most of the time) it’s way better than I ever dreamed.  But when it’s hard, it’s harder than I was at all prepared for – and it scares me a bit because I suspect it only gets harder from here…

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6 Comments »

  1. OK, coming from a kindred spirit… I still honestly believe that by acknowledging your fears and weaknesses you CAN and WILL be able to overcome them. You ARE a good mom; the one Delaney’s birthmom dreamed of because you opened your heart to this beautiful baby girl and are willing to confront all of the challenges that come with single parenthood, transracial parenting, and adoptive parenting!

    Since beginning this journey through adoption, I’ve come to realize that the unique way we have built our family is NOT for everyone. You need to be tough and enduring just to complete a home study! And you did it, Stacy! You made it through to the other side and are kicking motherhood’s ass! It is so totally OK to have bad moments because we can learn from them and let them shape the way we handle problems in the future.

    Comment by Jen — June 1, 2008 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

  2. Every mother has serious doubts and fears and what if moments. If you find a mom who tries to tell you they don’t, they are lying. As I have addressed my own fears and concerns as a mother, I have been reassured by other moms that these concerns are what make us good moms. If you weren’t worried about being the best mom you can be to Delaney, then I would be concerned for you. And this is clearly not the case. You want to do your best for her. We all start to lose it when sleep is taken away. It makes you a different person. Don’t beat yourself up over that. We just have to learn how to deal with lack of sleep without taking it out on our little ones, which is not at all an easy thing to do. I remember so many times when I have just mentally lost it because I was so tired and Lucy was SO awake. It is hard.

    You are doing a great job!!

    Comment by Kelly — June 1, 2008 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  3. So I have seen you in all of your mommy glory and you are an amazing mommy doing an amazing job! And I cannot comment on mommy fears except to say that I am already experiencing them completely! I think that Jen and Kelly know exactly what they are talking about so listen up and continue to be the best mommy possible to Delaney (and yes that includes a couple of “bad” mommy days!)!!!!

    Comment by Carissa — June 2, 2008 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

  4. I think Kelly pretty much hit the nail on the head: if you weren’t worried about being the best mom to Delaney, if you didn’t worry about the times you feel like and react like the “mean mama” then there would be something to be concerned about. We all have “mean mama” times, and sleep deprivation certainly makes them more frequent. The only thing that can prepare us for motherhood is motherhood itself, which means, of course, that we are never prepared for it. We are never going to do as good a job as we thought we would do. We are all going to have those times when we look back on the day (or night) and think, “I can’t believe that crazy woman was ME!” Then we move forward and try to do better next time, and sometimes we don’t do better, and sometimes we do, so we keep trying. Just know: 1. You are not a bad mom; 2. You are a normal mom; 3. You are not alone. Also, I promise you, it does get easier, at least for a while. I’m not to the teenage stage yet, so I can’t speak to that. I’ll let you know in a few years.

    Comment by Elaine — June 3, 2008 @ 1:11 am | Reply

  5. Oh Stacy, I’m RIGHT THERE with you! I call myself a schizo mom all the time because I go from cooing at one baby to screaming at another sometimes. Then I feel like a nutbag and get really upset with myself for losing my patience. Some days I function perfectly calmly (ok, this is RARE) through the screaming, trantrums (the babies’ tantrums, not mine!), and madness. Other days, I lose it. But somehow, at the end of every single day, I end up feeling guilty about some damn thing. Either I felt like a bad mom to one of the kids that day, or I didn’t pay enough attention to another one of the kids that day, or I was so checked out because I felt overwhelmed or whatever. My point is, I don’t think I EVER end a day feeling like “wow, I was a damn good mom to all my kids today.” It just doesn’t really happen.
    And like you, I’m always wondering if I’m falling short and maybe I’m not cut out for the job of mommy. I think this is inevitable if you have an overachiever or perfectionistic personality…there’s just no perfection when it comes to motherhood! Ans Elaine is right – it probably just makes us normal and human.
    Your job as single mom to a transracially adopted baby girl is probably the hardest out there. And still, you are amazing. Not perfect, because that’s not human. Normal, amazing, and perfect for Delaney.

    Comment by Laurie — June 3, 2008 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  6. I think Kelly said it all and perfectly. Nobody is perfect at this mom gig and anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling herself! Sleep deprivation can turn the most sane, calm person crazy…and I wasn’t even the most sane, calm person to begin with, so not good for me! You’re clealry doing an amazing job evaluating youself. Your daughter couldn’t ask for more!

    Comment by Laura — June 5, 2008 @ 3:56 am | Reply


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