Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I am a mother of two boys. They are 19 months apart and my oldest is getting ready to turn two. When I sat down to write this reflection on motherhood, I was blank. Who has time to think? Motherhood has meant so many things: courage, selflessness, worry, joy, wonder, sadness and fulfillment. I expected it to be hard, but not this hard. I expected it to be amazing, but not this amazing. Motherhood is full of contradiction. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by this contradiction. Am I the only one who feels it? Motherhood requires me to be confident, smart and steadfast. Can anyone tell that I am scared to death of making a mistake, of not knowing? Sometimes I wonder how I got here. Do I have people fooled?

I made all of my son’s baby food from scratch, yet we had chicken tenders for dinner last night. We have piles of library books in the house, yet we held a Barney marathon two days last week. Guilt also has been a big part of motherhood for me. Are my imperfect choices the cause of my son’s speech delay? My perfectionist personality keeps my mind humming. Were we selfish to have a second child? My difficult pregnancy demanded a lot of my older son, especially when I spent a good amount of time on bed rest. Did I steal precious developmental moments from him?

I have learned that it is much easier for me to think the worst rather than celebrate the joy. The truth is that my son loves his little brother. He makes him laugh, smothers him in kisses and tries to help take care of him. Rather then wondering if I took something away from him, I need to remind myself of the ways his life is more full. I need to resolve to be less selfish in yet another way: release my mommy guilt. Why is that so hard? Bed rest, child birth with no epidural (not by choice!), breast feeding, living on no sleep, and sharing the last bite of dessert are all selfless acts that have been certain kinds of hard. But, learning to reframe guilt has been absolutely difficult. I suppose I carried this challenge in my pre-motherhood life, but it is magnified now. The truth of my experience is that my son’s life is fuller because of the love for his brother. I am not the cause of his speech delay. I should be thankful that he is willing to eat the chicken nuggets and that Barney convinced him that brushing teeth is indeed fun.

I, like everyone, want everything for my kids. I don’t want to see them struggle. My goal for myself is to embrace my moments of challenge. Hopefully my sons will learn to do the same: celebrate living rather than dwell on shortcomings. As I brushed my teeth the other day, I kept a close eye on my three month old playing in his bouncy seat. When I turned toward the sink for a moment, my older son retrieved his own toothbrush and began brushing his brother’s “teeth.” When I turned back, I, of course, flew to “save” the baby. This is it. Amazingly, this is what I have worked so hard for. A perfect moment of contradiction. I was furious and scared, but it also was an innocent expression of love. My toddler was taking care of his baby brother just as I take care of him. It was a teachable moment, perhaps. But, reframed: love. That is what I have created and I am incredibly proud of that.


  1. Beautifully written. Captures motherhood!

  2. Granted I am quite new at this mommy stuff as my son is creeping on 3 months old, but I feel so many of those feelings already. However, when I catch myself "second guessing" a thought, a decision, or an action regarding my parental abilities, I stop and remind myself..."It's okay that I did it that way, it's okay that I thought of it that way, the plan for today may not be most efficient, but it's what I want to do, it makes sense and it's ALL just fine. Why?... Because I am Mommy and I say so!"

  3. Wow Page - that was beautiful! You are a GREAT mom - I have no idea how you do it all but you do it magnificently.


  4. I think every Momma thinks other Mommas don't struggle like they do, but the truth is, we all deal with feelings of guilt daily, hell, hourly some days! At some point, you have to stop beating yourself up for the stupid mistakes we ALL make, and celebrate the amazing moments we helped create.

  5. Very well written Page! I often say we are our own worst enemies - we are hardest on ourselves. Having two "babies" has to be such a challenge, one I can't imagine myself taking on, but you are doing an amazing job! And anytime you need any help or just someone to vent to - you know we are all here for you!


  6. I love that CJ tried to brush DH's teeth. That's the kind of love we all need...someone just watching our back...err...teeth in this case.

    You are a fabulous mom. And, you make it look so effortless.

  7. Beautiful. Guilt.....that's the main issue, an would letting go of the guilt make you feel guilty? I really enjoyed reading this article.

  8. Page, I loved your article and I have all the same guilts, I am sure we all do! You ARE a great MOM!


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