“Because I am a woman and I will show you.”
I wrote these words when I was 19 weeks pregnant with Brynn and had just found out she was a girl (you can read the full post here). I was scared and excited and determined to raise a strong, independent little woman- with zero knowledge about what the heeccckkk was about to happen. I had no idea just how strong and independent that little girl would be at the tender age of 3 ½ or that there would be another little woman arriving on the scene in 2.5years. I wrote about being the primary female role model for my little girl but had no idea just what implications came with that. I mean, I knew…but I didn’t know. I wrote about allowing her to wear tutus and bows but didn’t know my living room floor would be perpetually littered with a variety of tutus in different colors and material with batman action figures nestled between them. I wrote about not letting her win at games but didn’t know just how many games of Disney matching I would be playing or how often I would legitimately be losing to a 3year old. I wrote about letting her fall down, but didn’t know just how hard that would be for me (#enneagram6). I wrote about putting Band-Aids on scraped knees but didn’t know how many Band-Aids I’d be putting on toenails because a “tiny piece was falling off and getting caught on the purple blanket” in her bed. I wrote about maintaining confidence and modeling that to her. But I didn’t know that there are some days in Motherhood that shake even the firmest of confidences.
I. Had. No. Idea.
But mostly- I didn’t know what strength and independence that little girl and her future baby sister would teach me.
I didn’t know I would find a physical strength inside myself I didn’t know possible when I pushed out a 9lb11oz baby and then an 8lb14oz baby (without the epidural that time!). I didn’t know I would experience probably the lowest my confidence has ever been when nursing was so painful and so frustrating, only to become one of the things I’m most proud of myself for sticking with. I didn’t know the physical, mental and emotional strength required for months (years because my kids hate sleeping) of nightly night feedings/soothings. I didn’t know the amount of independence that would be required to ask for help and support from friends and family. I didn’t know the kind of strength it takes to maintain a semblance of professionalism at work and grad school when your baby girl was up screaming all night so you slept on the floor next to the crib. I didn’t know about the independence forced on you and strength forced from you when you take a newborn home from the hospital to a toddler who still needs your attention and a routine to be maintained. I didn’t know how much strength it takes to remain patient and calm while a toddler is throwing a tantrum and a baby is screaming from gas pains. I didn’t know the kind of strength it takes to apologize to a 3 year old and ask for forgiveness for not remaining patient and calm. I didn’t know the independence it takes to defend your choice to work and go to school instead of stay home with the kids. I didn’t know the kind of strength required to feel like you have no idea what is going on, but realize you are somehow now the adult in charge.
I didn’t know the strength and independence that comes from being broken and wrung raw.
I didn’t know about Motherhood.
So today I say to you, my sweet baby girls:
Because I am a woman, I hope to show you what I’ve learned from being your Mama.
I hope to show you it takes strength to ask for help.
I hope to show you that you will fail, but you can try again because you are strong.
I hope to show you that plans will go awry, but you can use your independence to be adaptable and grow.
I hope to show you that your body will not be perfect by society’s standards, but it is strong and it is yours.
I hope to show you that confidence is important, but humility demonstrates strength of character.
I hope to show you that compassion and strength are not mutually exclusive but rather dependent on one another.
I hope to show you that there truly is strength in numbers – find your people and stick with them.
I hope to show you that it takes strong determination and hard work to reach your goals.
I hope to show you that your dreams and goals are worth fighting for with every bit of strength for the sole reason that they are yours.
I hope to show you that you have options in this world but it will take independence and strength to assert your yourselves in some of those options.
I hope to show you that without God’s strength, you will flounder, but with it you will soar.
I hope to show you self-compassion is a strength that will help you through hard times.
I hope to show you both so many things. So so many things.
Sweet girls, I know you are watching. I know because I hear, “when I’m older I’m going to put cream in my coffee” after I pour creamer in my coffee in the morning. I feel your little hands pet my hair while you announce, “when I’m older, I can have hair long long like yours and braid it like yours.” I see your little eyes watching my hands as I demonstrate clapping and see concentrated focus while your chubby baby hands lurch towards each other in an attempt to mimic my behavior. The gravity of these simplistic statements and movements is not lost on me my tiny loves. I feel the weight of my responsibility as your Mama and so I am trying my best. Trying my best to demonstrate strength and independence in all forms because I am a woman and what I show you will inform your concept of what it means to be a woman.
What a weight that is.
Oh, but what an honor.
Mama loves you both, my little women.