Hi there. Allow me to introduce myself. The name I most frequently answer to is “Mama.” At first, I admit, I struggled with this identity. You see, the majority of my life I haven’t been “Mama.” I identified myself as a daughter, a sister, a scholar, an athlete, a traveler, a young professional, a Maryland native, a Virginia Tech graduate, a wife… I’d been called many, many things up until the birth of my daughter in January of 2011.
Even after she was born, I didn’t feel like “Mama” right away. I remember looking at my daughter and thinking, “Who are you?” shortly after she was born. Birth is no cake walk—it’s a pretty traumatic experience—so understandably I had a similar reaction when my son was plopped on my chest after he was born the following year. And just like that, I’m “Mama” to two young children. Some days I look at them and think, “The joke is on you two! Why are you trusting me with all of this responsibility??” but most days (let’s be real), the joke is on me.
In my daily life, words come out of my mouth that I never thought I’d say. Just today, I caught myself saying “Take your penis out of the microwave” to my three-year-old son. “Turn on your ears” and “Keep your hands to yourself” are uttered so frequently that I don’t even notice how easily they roll off my tongue. I’ve had to address issues like putting trucks in toilets, peeing in trash cans, knotting electric trains in hair, and touching the dog’s private parts.
Likewise, I do things I never thought I’d do. I loathe… no, I hate frogs and toads, and yet I patiently watch, feign interest, and miraculously hold back disgust as my son picks up a toad and shoves it in my face for closer examination. Similarly, pink is not my color (and it never has been). But I painstakingly sanded, primed and painted vintage shutters a lovely shade of Annie Sloan pink to accent my daughter’s bedroom. I listen to The Lion Guard soundtrack on every car ride (long or short), allow popsicles on my furniture, supervise messy morning painting sessions, and even tolerate it when Playdoh finds its way into someone’s mouth.
Going from career woman to stay-at-home mom has been a shock to my system, for sure. It took me three years before I finally realized that clinging to my former self was like fighting a losing battle. It wasn’t my children who needed to change to accommodate me, it was the other way around. Our crazy little life got a whole lot more enjoyable for me after I adjusted my expectations. Now I’m able to find and appreciate the humor in our everyday adventures. I even find it slightly funny that my husband and I are expecting our third child this September. It’s a boy, so I look forward to saying “keep your penis in your pants” frequently for the next twenty-five years. And I look forward to being “Mama” for the rest of my life. It’s nice to meet you.