How Motherhood Made Me Better
I used to view the world only in terms of how it related to myself. What I could see of it, gain from it, and change of it. All my time and energy used to go into making plans for myself and improving who I was. Then I became a mother and everything changed.
I believe every woman possesses a God given fierceness. Motherhood is the key that unlocked this gift in me. As a young person and an introvert I often struggled and battled with fear. It would come up when I wanted to try something or do something new. I did have many moments of conquering fears before having children but motherhood brought out a fierceness in me I never knew existed before.
Motherhood has pushed me out of my comfort zone constantly. It started in pregnancy with both my boys. There was so much discomfort, physically obviously. But then there was a coming into my own skin process that happened. At first I felt like a stranger in my own body. And then I learned to be more accepting. To see myself through my children’s eyes. Motherhood has taught me greater acceptance of myself and of others.
I see more than stretch marks and dark circles under my eyes now. More than the toll almost four years of sleep deprivation has taken on me. I see strength and I see beauty. I see a body that grew and birthed two children and continues to comfort, care, and nourish them daily.
When I view the world as a mother I see how it will affect my children and how they will affect it. I see all the problems that need to be fixed and I see how the answer and the future - is them. And that how I choose to raise them will change everything or nothing.
I’ve fought battles as a mother I don't think I could have fought without having had my children. The betrayal of a childhood best friend. Cancer and surgery. I fought battles before but then I had fought only for myself. Now I fight for my children too. So they can see what God and Love can do.
As a young person it was easy to let my feelings rule my day. Happiness, sadness, frustration, disappointment, ambition. But now with two little people looking up to me and needing looking after I have no such luxury. I still let myself feel things as they come up. But those feelings no longer rule my days. I can’t force myself to be happy all the time. But I do choose to make the best of things because my feelings no longer affect just me.
I would be lying if I painted motherhood as being all roses and positivity. I have struggled and been challenged more these past few years than all my life combined. The greatest responsibility is knowing that your choices and actions affect another person. And that another person is relying completely on you all the time. I have felt exhausted, hopeless, tired and desperate. I have felt alone. I have felt weak and completely useless.
And then there has been transformation and redemption. I have been tired and strong. Desperate and daring. Alone and surrounded. Hopeless and optimistic. Useless and effective. Brave and afraid. Motherhood is full of these paradoxes for me. The only constant I know now is change.
Having children has helped me to see that life is more than big moments but rather a series of choice’s. Before I had my son I was always just pushing myself and running to the next big thing, whatever that thing was. Choir, graduation, art school, internships, apartments, promotions—all worthwhile things. But what about the messy bits in-between? I no longer see myself in terms of simply big events but rather the choices I make everyday.
As a mother I have chosen to show up and be present and vulnerable in all my mess. Instead of waiting to be better, stronger, more qualified, more likable, more whatever. My children deserve their mother today not later. They don’t need a perfect mother, they just need their mother.
I believe this has translated into all the other aspects of my life. Relationships and community, my work and my art. I choose progress over perfection. I choose to grow even though that comes with pain. Life is to too short to wait for the “perfect conditions”. And motherhood has provided me with plenty of imperfect conditions.
Living in a constant state of “mom brain”(forget-fullness) isn’t ideal. Neither is being always tired, late, and a mess. Or forgetting when you last showered or how long its been since you washed your clothes. Some days I am simultaneously thrown up on, drooled on, and possibly pooped on. And yet I know all this has made me better.
I am more than a mother. I am a woman, a daughter, a wife, a friend, an artist, a student. But motherhood makes me better. My children are my God given inspiration. I am more than the work I do everyday and yet it is this work that I do for them daily that changes everything.
At first it seemed that I had lost my life in motherhood but it is really this life that was waiting to be found all along.
- Hannah Lacy