A Decade of Motherhood Come and Gone – What I Have Learned

7 Oct

Today’s guest blogger is one of our awesome faculty members, Erin Stegman. Through her post, she is showing how much we grow through motherhood and how much we need to forgive ourselves.

Yesterday was my son’s tenth birthday.  Throughout the day I began to reflect on the past ten years and how much he has grown.  At the same time I found myself reflecting on my journey as a mother and how much I have grown.  To my surprise I realized that maybe I have grown more than my son.  I think I speak for most mothers out there that when you are pregnant and throughout your stay at the hospital you are ready and willing to take on the world and be the best mom ever – losing your temper, yelling, and not letting your kids manipulate you into getting what they want  is never part of the equation.  However, not too far into my motherhood, I realized that this fantasy I wanted to live in was not a reality.  It wasn’t long before the exhaustion and down right mental state of changing diapers every 30 minutes and never getting to take a shower until maybe the following afternoon took over and I became everything I didn’t want to become.  I had to face the fact that the life-long mommy course I signed up for was much harder than I thought.  As time passed I began to question my abilities and the mommy “guilt” was so overwhelming that I know I have more sleep than gained throughout these ten years.

It is now my belief that I was WAY too hard on myself.  There was no possible way I could (or can) do everything right.  Ten years has taught me that I need to forgive myself more than I need to dunk myself into a swirling pool of guilt.  This has not been easy to discover since I have been through divorce; dated some real doozies; and, tried to find my own self through the process.  Life happens and we are dealt a new hand everyday and we don’t get to choose most of the time.  We can only choose our actions and reactions.

I have reflected and now feel proud of the mom I was most of time and don’t want to carry the times where I was less than perfect with me into the next decade.  I am human.  Humans make mistakes.  I have found great pleasure in letting my son know this as well.  He needs to know that even though I am his mother and protector now and beyond my life on earth, I, too, don’t always get everything right.  Hopefully, this will sink in and he won’t be so hard on himself when he is less than perfect.  I handle this by telling him, “Guess what?  I was human today.  This is what happened…This is how I took care of it.” Being honest with your kids is so important – they should know that you struggle at times just like they do.  I think this has helped me be a better mother and friend to myself knowing that I make mistakes and my child will too.

“Children don’t come with a manual” is a phrase all parents have heard before.  I have to remind myself that I don’t have one either.  We are consistently changing and evolving and we are never the same as the day before. I am of the opinion that moms need to give themselves more credit and realize that they did the best they could do at the time.  If we beat ourselves up for something that happened yesterday, we will remain stagnant and will never grow which means we stay in the past and aren’t present for our children.

What does this mean for my next decade of motherhood?  Not sure.  Am I any wiser? NO…just willing to let life happen – one day at a time. I am proud the woman (not just the mother) that I have become and am ready to let my mommy journey continue for as long as I am privileged to do so.

P.S. Since I have never considered myself a scholar of the English language, I have already forgiven myself for any and all grammatical errors written above.  Hope the readers do to.

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