The only thing I’ve ever really wanted to be “when I grew up” was a mom. Like most other kids, I had momentary grand visions of being a veterinarian, or a dolphin trainer, or an astronaut. But when push came to shove, I truly felt a calling to be a mom. I’m not quite sure why I felt this ambition so strongly. I didn’t particularly like babysitting or caretaking for younger kids!
I went to college in Upstate New York (Go ‘Gate!) and graduate school in South Carolina (Go Cocks!). I worked a few brief stints in the hospitality industry. My real strengths in the business world came in forming relationships with people, but I never felt a true passion for the work I was doing. I’m a hard worker by nature, so of course, I’d never let my wavering professional aspirations squelch the quality of my work. But if I’m being honest, my heart just wasn’t in it.
My husband was severely injured in 2010 and for several years, my main “job” was to be his caretaker. We drove all over the country for countless surgeries. I shuttled him to doctor appointments, sat through long and painful treatments with him, and made endless notes of care instructions from his doctors. I learned so much about the foot and leg, and about pain management, I felt like I should have earned an honorary nursing degree in orthopedics.
While I surely didn’t enjoy seeing my husband in pain, I truly loved nursing and nurturing him back to health. I loved being the person he leaned on for emotional support. My experience with being a caretaker for my spouse only furthered my desire to be the greatest nurse/caretaker/supporter/chauffeur of all. A mother!
We were fortunate enough to become parents for the first time in February of 2014 – and my lifelong dreams were realized at last…or were they?
It was an incredibly challenging first year with our daughter. I was lucky to be able to be a stay-at-home mom from the get-go. And, while I felt that instant unconditional love for our daughter, the newborn fog was incredibly tough on me and my emotional wellbeing. Our daughter cried around the clock for the first few months of her life and I constantly doubted my ability to be a good mom. The sleep deprivation took its toll. Maybe my lifelong dream of motherhood was just a sham.
But once I came out of the fog of newborn-ness, I understood being a “successful” mom doesn’t mean your child never gets upset. Being a good mom means showing up and loving your child as hard as you can. It’s more work being a mom than I ever could have imagined, but its the first “job” I’ve ever loved. It’s the first job I’ve ever felt a passion for doing day in and day out. I’m supremely confident that I’m the best person for the job of being a mom to Taylor, Sloan, and Chandler. Nothing else I’ve done in my life has ever felt more important than being a mom to our three girls.
Every day is challenging, exhausting, and thankless. But every day is also wonderful, exciting, and silly and full of the best kind of hard work.