Way before the social media trend, my high school Home Economics teacher had us each write a letter during our senior year to our future selves. We wrote about expectations for the future, and then the letter was to be delivered five years after we graduated.
I remember reading it and realizing how much I had learned since high school. I almost wanted to write that senior back and tell her things turned out even better than she could have imagined.
The same thing applies when I think about the expectations I had for motherhood. So here’s my version of “How It Started vs. How It’s Going.” Now that I have experienced motherhood, here’s what I would write to a younger version of myself:
To my younger self,
I’d like to fill you in on things you have yet to realize.
I’m glad we eat in the car sometimes, I know you thought it would be messy and it is. But it is also worth the excited happy food dance, slightly stifled by their five-point harnesses while they’re handed their drive-thru order on a family road trip. The year-old fry I find when I move the car seats isn’t actually a big deal after all.
I find it really funny that on the list of “must-haves” you wanted a convertible crib. We still have yet to make it convert to anything. Having three kids in three years lent itself to a proverbial baby stage. So you needed that crib for five years straight.
You researched every little gadget and gizmo to make becoming a mom easier, but so many of those items didn’t even leave the box. Finding out what worked best for our family turned out to be one big trial and error experiment with, of course, endless Google searches.
Expectations That Did Not Happen
It’s been a blessing to have my pregnancies deviate from the linear, perfectly spaced life you had planned for us. Even that one that I wasn’t meant to meet. You were so caught up in controlling all aspects of the timing that you failed to realize, God knew better.
The lessons and love that came from those experiences shaped the mom I am now.
You were also banking on having “one of each.” Somewhere along the way I realized that gender doesn’t dictate the depth of a mother’s love. It means absolutely everything to just have my children, regardless of the pink or blue confetti. While you may never have envisioned me to be the boy mom type; here I am, dare I say rockin’ it one high-energy day at a time.
Letting Things Go
I remember when you would get so upset about a little scratch on the hardwood floor. You would be shocked to know I have let that go. Yes, even the two holes in the sheetrock going upstairs don’t make me lose sleep at night.
I know you were always worried about how your body would “bounce back.” Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Well at least not yet, and not permanently. And that’s okay
You were set on breastfeeding and I tried, believe me I tried. Each child was unique in their fed journey but each latch, pump, and bottle were equally important.
I want to tell you that each day I’m learning and growing and don’t have it perfected yet. But perfection and motherhood are not cohesive anyway, so don’t worry about that anymore.
More than anything, I wish you knew how expectations were not all for nothing. They set up a structure of how things might turn out.
And although many of your expectations were unfulfilled, and sometimes motherhood is tough and messy, I wouldn’t have it any other way.