My youngest son is turning 13 this week.
My oldest will be 16 next month.
I have been a mother for almost 16 years now. The one thing I know for sure?
I was all wrong about this motherhood gig.
The older my children get, the more I realize how far off I was in my expectations of how this was gonna go.
Of course, some of it has to do with the very real diagnoses my children have received… but most of it?
Most of it is just that I was way, way off in the expectations, and pretty picture I had about how motherhood would be.
This past week, I started thinking about all the things I honestly believed to be true – all the way up until the nurse wheeled me back into the hospital room, placed my first born in my arms, and left me alone with him.
“Wait, you’re leaving?” I thought. There, in the silence that was about to be broken by my crying newborn, I felt a subtle chill all the way down to the bottom of my toes. “How could she just leave me all alone in here? I have no idea what I am doing!”
And so it goes. The reality of motherhood.
The reality looks so different from my pre-motherhood expectations.
10 Things I Thought About Motherhood Before I Actually Became A Mom
This is what I thought motherhood would be, before I actually became a mom –
1. I will have clean hair most of the time. – Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!
2. My children will want to be around me. They will delight in spending time doing all the things I think we should do. – So. Not. Accurate. Sure sometimes they like me, but we spend all the time doing all the things they think we should do – not the other way around.
3. I don’t like dogs. There is no way we will every have a dog. – The problem with this one is that boys like dogs. So do husbands. So…
5. My performance as a mother has everything to do with how my children turn out. If they are bad, it’s a reflection on me. If they are good, I can and should totally be given the credit. – Not at all. Not even a little. The older my boys get, the more I can see that I am important part of their life and their overall success, but they are their own persons. I don’t have as much control as I thought I did. It’s a little terrifying, but it also is just plain life. This is their life. Just like I have my story, they will have theirs. And I should NOT be given the credit, nor the blame for how that story goes.
7. My children will get good grades in school. If they don’t, a ‘good talking to’ and maybe a tutor should fix it. – Seriously, I am not sure why I thought that my children would always be the best at everything. I have issues. The truth is, now that I am a mom, I care a lot more about them being diligent in their work, than I do about the grades they get.
8. When my kids are 12 and 9, or 16 and 13, my life as a mother will be so much easier. – Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!
9. Of course my children will bathe every day. – Please see #1. If I don’t get a shower, what would possibly make me think that they will be freshly scrubbed at all times?
(Sensory Processing Disorder And Bathing do NOT mix. Read about our experience HERE.)
Also…boys. I am not sure I need to say anything further on this matter.
10. I know it will be difficult, but I am tough. I can totally handle it. – Except that I can’t handle it, not alone.
What I Know Now About Motherhood
Motherhood has taught me more about being vulnerable and depending on others, than anything else ever could.
More than that, Motherhood has taught me more about God and surrender and grace and mercy and prayer and freaking out and not being perfect, than anything else ever could.
When we are weak, He is strong.
Amen someone is, because most of the time, motherhood scares me. It makes me feel weak and confused. It makes me feel like I had it all wrong.
Because I did have it all wrong.
Motherhood is no where near that pretty picture I had in my head.
It’s better. So. Much. Better.
Because in this mess and uncertainty, there is more joy than I ever knew possible, and a greater Love than I have ever known.
And that is infinitely better than a chore chart and clean hair.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.