I first knew I was not going to be a normal mom when I attended my first birthing class. We had to meet with a partner and tell her what we loved most about being pregnant. We broke off in pairs. She told me her reason and I told her mine.
Then we regathered in a big group and introduced our new friend and reported on what our partners said. My partner and I were dead last. Girl after girl reported– all saying the same thing– “This is so and so. She loves to feel the baby kick inside her.” Literally every girl’s favorite part of pregnancy was feeling the baby move inside them.
Then it was my partner’s turn. She was the very last to go, and by this time she had figured out that she did not get a normal partner. She looked a little shy and a little embarrassed as she reported, “This is Tiffany. She likes not having a period.”
I don’t remember the crowds response, but I do remember feeling different than other moms.
I have felt “not normal” many times over my mothering career.
Like the time I cried at Disneyland because I saw a mom nursing her baby. I had just weaned Locke and we had gone to Disneyland without him. But I wasn’t crying because the nursing phase was over in my life or because I missed Locke; I was crying because I was so happy I never had to nurse ever again. I nursed 4 kids for a year each and that was enough for me.
My most recent “not normal” experience was just yesterday when everyone was posting pictures of their kids’ first day of Kindergarten or preschool and the moms were sad about it. Some dreaded the day. Some even cried. And there I was getting Croft ready — totally excited for her big day.
It is not that I don’t love Croft. I do. I will probably even miss her. But I know Croft is ready. I am happy about her school and her teacher, and she was so excited too. But I also love growth, change, and new opportunities. (I would be living in a third world country right now if I could talk my husband into it.)
Overall I am okay that my kids are growing up. That is what we do. Growth is a sign that our bodies are working as they are designed. That our brains are developing. And that all is normal with our kids. Imagine if they really did stay little forever. That would actually be sad and scary. So I see moving on up as a good thing.
Some days I long to be normal. But most days I accept who I am and tell myself that there is not one right way to be a mom. There is not one right way to feel or one right way to act or one right way to be. We all handle the stages of motherhood differently according to our strengths, weaknesses, talents, goals, beliefs and experience.
And that is normal.