I’m sitting in the Edmonton International Airport surrounded by total strangers who are as tired as I am, anxiously awaiting the boarding call for my redeye back to Halifax. I can almost smell the sweet scent of F’s hair and I can’t wait to wrap my arms around him, 48 hours after I hugged him goodbye. I didn’t foresee motherhood being trips across the country. I didn’t foresee most of what motherhood has held for me.
I was raised by a (mostly) stay at home mom who never missed a deadline for school paperwork or a registration for swimming lessons or camp. I forgot to register my kid for school last year. SCHOOL. My mom tucked us in nightly, and I’ve missed entire weeks of my boy’s childhood to work or study.
I envisioned motherhood just like - or similar to - what I saw my mother live. It hasn’t been that and if I’m totally honest, sometimes it’s hard to reconcile what I imagined with the reality I live. And I’m doing it by myself: I never imagined that motherhood would be single motherhood. Not for a second.
I imagined motherhood as loving snuggles as we read bedtime stories together. Instead, it’s pleading with my son to go to bed and hoping he won’t cry when I tell him we’re only reading one book because Mama’s tired. I barely get us to swimming lessons on time, and I’ve more than once asked “Did you put clean underwear on today?” as we’re pulling into the school driveway. Motherhood is hectic - and while I imagined motherhood being much different than it is, I don’t know if motherhood is something I really expected for myself.
Sometimes I sit back and feel like a failure in comparison to my mother. Sometimes I envy the way she was able to raise us, but then I remember how much I hated being a stay at home mom and the happiness my career brings me.
In the way that some are naturally athletically inclined or take to math easily, my mother was born to parent. I was not. The skills and strengths of parenthood have been a constant struggle for me, and while I wouldn’t trade a moment of my life with my sweet little guy for anything else, I’d be lying if I said I’ve loved it all. I haven’t. I have felt beaten and broken more times than I can count. I sometimes feel like I've dropped all the balls and I'm too tired to pick them up again. I never saw my mom drop the ball.
I’ve often felt that my mother’s path was somehow easier, and in some ways maybe it was but I know for sure that I would have long since fallen off my own path had it not been for her. We are two completely different mothers with completely different lives and experiences and opportunities. As it relates to parenting, I’m probably nothing like my mother in any way except one: I love my kid, and I’ll go to bat for him the same way my own mother went to bat for me. And I'll go to bat for her, too, if I ever have to.