When we set out to write about moms this month, we had literally over 1oo ideas. We were brimming with thoughts and feelings about moms, and still are. But as we parsed them and assigned them out, we realized they all orbited the same three pillars: our feelings on having them, being them or knowing them. And so, this month, we didn’t cast the net wide so much as deep. Motherhood, as a topic, has so many layers.
What surprised me most about mom’s month was the somewhat ironic conclusion that came of almost all of the stories pegged to it, which was, as Rachel put it, that “mothers are just women.” The role of mother is interesting because of its power and the wildly complex people who hold it. Scroll down to read or join the conversation if you haven’t already.
“The status of motherhood is much more amorphous than woman-gives-birth to-child. It can belong to whoever chooses to assume the role. Many of us know this to be true from experience, from the women (and men!) who have chosen us, and the ones that we choose as mentors and safety nets and confidants and friends.”
“We have a disgustingly strong bond. We balance each other. I try to soften her edges and she tries to soften mine, and we work as buffers for each other within our family dynamic. I’m blown away when I see so plainly that she and I were so destined to be together out of all of the people in the world who could have been my mom.”
“After becoming a mother, I found that I had to fight to maintain my identity. Not only because taking care of a child is physically and emotionally exhausting, leaving little time for personal growth, but also because your peers begin to treat you differently.”
“I’ve definitely been exploring new shapes. I used to hate to highlight my waist but now I gravitate toward pieces that do. Maybe not having a waist for nine months during pregnancy made me realize it’s actually one of my favorite things to accentuate.”
“As with any big life change, kids seem to bring up weird feelings of frustration, anger, jealousy and loss in both the childless friend and the child-having friend. When someone recently asked me for advice on how to stay close with their friend who’d become a mom, I realized didn’t have a quick answer. So, in search of guidance (for her and for me), I asked a bunch of moms how they would have responded.”
“Each time you brought me to work — between Styrofoam cups of Swiss Miss and trips to the supply closet — I watched you. I watched you be a leader and be part of a team. I watched how you spoke to others, how you made those around you feel and how you held your own.”
“When I had the twins, I had an identity crisis. I was lost in space. Who am I? I used to be so good at something, but now I’m doing this other thing that I have no idea how to do. My husband loves kids. He wanted a whole bunch of children. I was trying to figure out how to breastfeed two newborn twins with this new reality hitting me. I wanted to go back to what I used to know how to do, what I loved to do.”
“Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Miranda started freaking out that she’d die alone in her apartment and no one would come home to find her? Remember when she decides to make Carrie her emergency contact instead of her out-of-state parents? It’s a real moment.”
“I was probably about 20 before I thought of my parents as complex and individual beings. You know, like people who just happen to have children rather than, say, my respective fifth and six limbs. When I think back, I can see why. I spent the first two decades of my life modeling my idea of personhood around them.”
“It’s such a thing to be ‘just like your mother.’ Often it’s something people lament, but I can’t help but be tickled by the little oddities we resent as kids and then pick up as adults, in spite of ourselves. They offer new perspectives on our moms and our selves, maybe even our childhoods. So I asked the team to tell me some of theirs. They were even more adorable than I expected.”
“It’s hard to think of a more multifaceted term than mom. It has depth, complexity and nuance, and it looks different for everyone — those who have one, lost one, want a different one; those who are one, want to be one, don’t or can’t. It’s a term and role drowning in cliches good and bad, constantly co-opted to mean something more than the sum of its parts.”
Unfortunately the deadline to submit has passed, but check in this Saturday to read the winner!