The other day I had my ultimate Mommy Moment thus far in my life as a Mommy. We all think our A-Ha Mommy moment hits sometime in those first few seconds of exhausted bliss after birth. We spend hours in labor, we are ready to be a Mommy.The baby finally makes its way into the world and they place him/her on our chest all ooey and gooey and we fall in love. Deep, breathtaking love. We are a Mommy.That’s it, end of story. That’s when we know we have arrived,right?
WRONG! Oh so wrong. I did fall into deep, breathtaking love with each of my girls at the moment they came into the world.Hell, let’s be honest I loved them before they were born.It’s just the way I am built. Not everyone does and that’s OK. I mean, its sort of a shock the way they are thrust into our lives, really. But even with all that giant love oozing out of my heart, not a Mommy Moment does that make. Of course if you have a child you are a mother but what really changed about you, the person? Everything and nothing,all at the same time.It’s not a magic wand that instantaneously makes you a “Mommy” There is no apprenticeship, there is no internship, there is no class that immerses you in the reality of a colicky baby, a dirty house, an exhausted brain, and an equally exhausted body. Even if there was a book that told us the honest to God truth, we’d never believe it. The reality is too spectacular. It’s one of those things you have to live through, like war, death, and your own birth. On the job training is the only way to experience it.
So, back to the Mommy Moment,the exact moment that you KNEW you had evolved from your old self into a Mommy. Was it the moment you conceived? The moment you locked eyes with your newborn? The first time they smiled at you? The first time they called out Mommy and you realized you were the one they were calling out to? The first time you had to stay awake all night checking a sick child’s temperature and didn’t mind? The first time you had to soothe tears and hold your baby so tightly to protect them from the pain of the world? Maybe it was the first time you caught a glimpse of your child’s face and you saw yourself in them? Perhaps, it was the moment that you realized that a world without them would be one in which you would not want to live? Maybe the moment that you realized they hold your entire heart in their tiny little hands? Maybe it was the moment that you had to issue a punishment or say no to them, even though you wanted to just give them everything their heart desired? Was it the moment that you realized that you needed to be there to pick up the pieces when life had let them down? Maybe it was the second that you realized you were capable of murdering any person large or small who directly or indirectly hurt your child, physically, emotionally, on purpose or accidentally?Was it the moment that you realized that seeing the world through their eyes was better than through your own.Possibly the moment that you realized they were your everything and you wouldn’t have it any other way? Or maybe the moment that you realized that their happiness was more important to you than your own? The moment that you realized how selfless you had become and it didn’t feel like a sacrifice or burden.When did you know in your heart, in your soul, that you were a MOMMY?
For me, I’ve experienced all the moments from the previous paragraph and hundreds ( maybe thousands) more in the last 5 years. But how I knew I had really become a Mommy.The realization that I had changed and it was about more than breastfeeding, nap times, yoga pants, ponytails, exhaustion and Mommy brain came when I was out with friends on my birthday last month. I was miles away from my children, for the first time ever.I was having a complete blast being “me”.I wasn’t obsessing over my girls who were at home with their Grandma, eating chocolate and going to parks, zoos, pretty much anything their hearts desired but they were still with me. Unbeknown to me.But it sneaked out like a silent ninja, that Mommy moment of mine.
Right there on the dance floor at a hip city club, I was surrounded by enthusiastic dancing 20 something year olds.You know, like who I was before I had children. Everybody was dancing and the music was bumping.I was with my sister and my best friend dancing, just happy to be out. You know the feeling. It was like someone let the crazies out of the asylum for the night. Then it happened, two girls, probably in their early twenties were enthusiastically jumping around on the dance floor and they kept bumping into me. I ignored them at first, after all, they were only trying to have fun on a super crowded dance floor.They had no idea what a momentous occasion this was for me. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and it happened. I found myself, whipping around, bending down to make eye contact, pointing with my index finger, and using my seriously stern voice to utter these shameful words, “HEY! You girls better be careful. You are going to knock me down and someone’s going to get hurt!”Then I stood straight up and they both, shocked, looked at me and said “Yes, Ma’am!” Then I realized what I had just done. I went Mommy crazy all over their asses. Then I heard them,like my children, giggling behind me. Probably because they couldn’t believe what had just transpired.Had I really just scolded them all Nanny style at Nacional 27 on a Saturday night in the middle of the dance floor. I don’t blame them.As I heard them giggle, it made me chuckle because 10 years prior it would have been a completely different scenario. I would have turned around, pushed them off me and said something more like,”Watch it, Bitch! ” But not tonight, tonight I was a Mommy and I know that it is not something that I do. It is something that I am at my very core, even when my girls are not by my side; they are always with me in my heart, my thoughts, and ( apparently) my actions. Happy Mothering!