Recently, Riley had a bad fall off a scooter at her friend's house. She came to me, visibly shaken, needing her mom. I cleaned her wounds, applied ointment and bandages, and she buried herself in my lap. One of those quintessential mother-child moments.One of those moments where I found myself thinking, "wow, I'm a real mom!"
Like Teresa Strasser, author of the hilarious Exploiting My Baby, motherhood wasn't on the top of my priority list when I was a child, imagining my oh-so-fabulous future as a starving artist. My "dream home" was a warehouse straight out of Flashdance.
Long story short, my life took a completely different turn and here I am, feeling full and complete in healing my daughter's wounds and finding the best company in my two girls.
Riley tells me often that I'm the best mommy in the world and in my head, I'm always thinking, "that's just because she doesn't know any better!" And just waiting for the day she no longer believes that.
Because I still have those moments where it all just feels so...surreal that I'm actually their mother.
When the girls were younger, I felt validated in my motherhood by side-stepping Legos and washing bibs. Then it was in attending their holiday concerts and signing report cards. Now, it's in keeping track of their schedules, and picking them up at the appropriate time. These are things that mothers do!
Yet, like Teresa, there are still times where I don't feel quite part of the club. Maybe it's because it wasn't my childhood dream to be a mom that I still feel this need to prove my membership. Like, having the kids and raising them somehow isn't enough! Maybe it's just an insecurity thing.
And the moments that aren't picturesque? Like I'm supposed to know what to do when one of them misbehaves? It feels like one very long improv class, and I'm simply making up the rules as I go along. Like motherhood is a role I'm playing...for the rest of my life. So I play it to the fullest. Blog about our lives and say, "We were here. I was Sylvia and Riley's mom."
The exploitation feels necessary in order to confirm that it is indeed happening. And if I'm lucky, Riley and Sylvia will believe I was at least good enough.
Read more posts inspired by Exploiting My Baby at the book club site, From Left to Write. While I was given the book to read for free, I have not been compensated for this post.
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