Megan Shapka: What Surprised Me Most About Motherhood

A Runner-up Winner of the YMC/Playtex Writing contest

Megan Shapka - What Surprised Me Most About Motherhood

YMC teamed up with Playtex to celebrate the wild ride of parenting by asking moms to submit a story describing “What Surprised You Most About Motherhood.” The stories made our judges laugh, cry, and nod heads in agreement, but they were finally able to narrow it down to these winning submissions. Read this runner-up winner's story about how motherhood surprised her.

Her eyes flutter and her breath slows. As she gives in to sleep, a gentle smile forms on her peaceful face. I wonder what she’ll dream about first. It is in this moment, as I hold her hand and help her fall into dreamland, that my heart soars with pride, with a confidence I never knew I had. She completes me and makes me feel like a confident, strong woman in ways I never dreamed possible. It is in this moment that I know I have found my calling.

I am her mother.

Then suddenly my pulse quickens as my mind drifts over the day’s events. Did I do enough today to make her the best person she can be? We should have read another book. We should have practiced her letters. We should have gone out for a walk. I shouldn’t have yelled when she spilled her soup all over the floor, shattering the bowl. I shouldn’t have let her watch so much TV, especially that show.

Maybe I’m not such a good mom after all. And just like that, my confidence is gone.

As I sneak out of her room, I promise myself I’ll do better tomorrow. I’ll play more games. I’ll teach her something new. I won’t ask her to wait for me while I send an email for work. I’ll be present all day long.

I do this every night — ride the high of a job well done and then doubt myself and demand perfection.

The thing that surprises me most about motherhood is how I can be so confident and so insecure at the same time.

My mother always told me raising kids is the hardest job a woman will ever have. When I was young, I’m not sure I believed her, probably even rolled my eyes at her a time or two. Now, I know exactly what she meant. It’s not hard to change clothes, make meals, get to school on time and play a few games. It’s the emotional part that’s stressful. It’s constantly wondering if you’re good enough and then seconds later riding the high of totally rocking it. And then doing it all again.

But I always make it through the times when I don’t believe in myself. Her smile, her giggles, and her hugs push me forward. She doesn’t notice my insecurities like I do. She thinks I’m Supermom. When I make her laugh or be proud of herself my confidence grows. Better yet, when I see her show kindness to others, I know I’m doing it right more often than not.

Motherhood is definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had, but I’m ready and willing to stay on the roller coaster because I’ve got the best ride buddy in the world.

For even more inspiring stories that celebrate and reflect on what it means to be a mom, visit our "YMC and Playtex Writing Contest Winners" page.

Megan Shapka is a writer and editor with over a decade of experience providing professional services to a variety of clients in diverse industries. With a background in journalism and communications, she uses clear and concise language to effectively share key messages. Her passion is writing educational materials and she's been working with the college in her community writing and editing online courses for over three years. Megan is a proud work-at-home-mommy. Her daughter is four.