I had this picture in my head of the mother that I would be before my first son was born.
It looked kind of like this.
But, you know, with a baby instead of a joint.
Now granted – with the exception of small breast size – nothing in this photograph would remind anyone of me.
But it’s not about reality. It’s about how I saw myself.
Free, easy, loving and open-minded.
Unburdened by the concerns that historically causes both a distinct deep forehead wrinkle and stress-incontinence in generations of mothers in my family.
I was smarter, better educated and more sophisticated in my approach to motherhood.
And then I actually had kids.
And over the years my mental picture changed significantly.
About five years in I saw myself more like –
Not quite free and easy but still loving and open-minded.
And with helpful advice that only a mother can offer, like “You shouldn’t put down a loser…because you might be one yourself someday. Just remember that.”
Oh Carol Brady, how right you were.
Then, about ten years in I saw myself more like –
Still loving but slightly self-destructive and possibly dangerous to both small children and pets.
And now…twenty-one years of parenting savoir-faire under my belt?
Like a maternal version of the Faces of Meth.
A furrow the size of the Grand Canyon between my eyebrows and pelvic floor muscles that waved a white flag to my bladder sometime in the late 90s.
Motherhood is its own reward.