Mommie's are People
Before Lane was born, my brother used to say, "You're going to freak out about everything." I told him, no way. I'm going to relax, be chill, laid back. I'm going to be the most easy going mother EVER.
I knew how motherhood would sit on me and it would be a chic brown-fringed frock, I'd pull my hair back in a bun with flawless, no-makeup skin, my son toddling beside me in moccasins, shirtless in the summer.
Then Lane was born and I didn't shower for a while.
Then Thanksgiving happened, and at 2 months old I freaked out about my son's over-stimulation and rushed him to the hospital, completely sure he wasn't breathing, until we got there and I saw that not only was he breathing, but he was totally fine and what were we doing in this hospital? and oh yeah, it's nap-time, he was just sleeping.
Then yesterday I got it in my head that Lane wasn't responding to his name. He doesn't know his name! I stood right over him and said "Lane, Lane" and he didn't look at me and I google searched until my fingers hurt and thought, "crap, he's got an autism warning sign..." while Colt was in the other room pulling his hair out ("You're driving me insane"). My mom came over and I said, "Work on his name, please." Then we had family dinner and my brother said, "Hey Lane" and he looked right up.
Today it's something else. I don't know. He hasn't said mama or dada in a while, does he have a speech delay? He won't stand when I hold out my hands, is he ever going to walk?
Slowly, over the course of the year, my laid-back momma profile crumbled and my neurosis replaced it. I watched my brothers' prophecy come true - am I bound to be uptight? Always worried about him, always stressed out and looking for a way to control things?
When we spend any length of time together, I know Lane's perfectly fine. Today, I picked him up and said "upup" and he said, "puppup" and I thought, man I freak out over nothing. But in those moments of pure freakout, I don't know how to calm the voice inside my head. I grasp at the fleeting vision of the beautiful mother I thought I'd be, barely recognizing the mother I actually am.
The more I think about it, that image doesn't exist. I don't know where I got it from - probably the internet, from women who craft their public personas, not always intentionally, but through snippets of truth, to look effortless and clean. But lets be honest here - motherhood is not effortless, or clean. That assumption is stupid on so many levels. Motherhood is downright rough a lot of times and there's worrying and freaking out and leaking from your chest and no time to read (I thought I understood that, but now I really understand that), and a lot of work and usually not a lot of sleep.
I need to stop comparing myself to the image of a mother in my imagination, this perfect, put-together, worry-free grown ass woman. My life is messy and I'm sometimes crazy and 96% of the time I let my flaws consume me, but I strive every day to do good by myself and my family and so what if sometimes that manifests in a little freaking out?
Mother = human being after all.