When I found out I was expecting my oldest child, an image appeared in my brain that defined what I thought motherhood would be like: It’s a dreamy scene with soft afternoon light as a mother and child sleep sweetly on the living room couch. The wind gently moves the sheer curtains and you can almost hear a lullaby in the breeze. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this became my established vision of motherhood–I didn’t even have sheer curtains. What’s funnier is that I was given a baby that shattered that image by not sleeping. Like, at all.
Less than four years later with three children in the picture, I would instead begin to define motherhood as a Jackson Pollock painting. It was messy but beautiful. It was exhausting, but fulfilling. It was controlled chaos.
It wasn’t too many years before the toddler years passed, and I felt like we were in the sweet spot. Everybody could wipe their own heinies and feed themselves, but I was still a prized commodity for snuggling and answering questions.
Now, on the precipice of adolescence and hormones, I find myself looking for the vision I want to experience in these special years to come. I feel like my kids will definitely be smarter than me in a short time, so all I can truly offer is my love, my support, and my life experiences.
At each stage of motherhood, I am amazed by how wonderful it all is while wondering how it could possibly get any better. But, I struggle to strike the balance between shaping them into the young adults I think they should be and letting them find their own independence. I feel so blessed that we get to experience this thing called “motherhood”, even when the days are hard. I laugh when I think back on the sweet image that never proved true, but I smile at the memories we’ve made that are so much better than my imagination could ever provide.