Monday, June 28, 2010

A True, Authentic Mom

I’ve been following Heather over at Theta Mom for a while now. I love her willingness to share the ups & downs of motherhood & her sincere desire to build a community of moms who are sharing & learning from each other. Her blog is turning One this week & to share in that celebration, she asked her readers to draft a post about their experience as a mom - their reasoning behind why they are what she calls a “Theta” - the true, authentic mom. 

As I started diving back into my memories over the past year or so that I’ve known I was going to be & then became a mom, I found several reasons why I think I’m a true, authentic mom. For one, anyone who knows me in real life knows that I tend to make my own way. I’m not like anybody I know & it took  me years to realize that & be okay with it. I used to spend a lot of time trying to fit in with the crowd. In high school, I was lucky to finally find a group of friends who were very authentic & who accepted me for who I was & were okay with the fact that I would geek out over Buffy or Newsies or a smorgasbord of other fabulously nerdy obsessions. As the years passed, I had to be okay with the fact that I talk a lot & I get really excited about stupid things & I cry at great movies & I have a strange, sarcastic sense of humor. I’m not the girl that laughs hysterically at slapstick comedy. I’m the girl who can’t get enough of Michael Cera’s awkward nerdy humor. And that’s ok. I can’t get tan even if I try, so I’ve had to accept my practically see-through pale skin. I hate when I have blonde hair. I just don’t fit into anybody’s category of traditional or classic anything. I speak my mind when I have something to say & I sometimes say the wrong thing. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth more times than I can count. I constantly find myself leaving some gathering of friends thinking, “should I have said that?” or “should I have talked about that?” But as I get older, I’ve just started to realize, that was me being myself & if I can’t be authentic around those people, then I don’t need to waste my time.

It’s been a liberating experience for me as I’ve grown into an adult. It’s been an even more liberating one as I’ve become a mom. Never before have I had such a strong need to buck up & be a real woman, a real wife, a real mother. I want my daughter to see strength & integrity in her mother. I may not be perfect, but I’m the same person in all circumstances. I am willing to admit my flaws & lay bare my insecurities because I know that I’m constantly on a path toward becoming the woman I know I need to be & the woman God wants me to be. That path is hard & full of potholes sometimes, but it’s the right path & I’m proud to be walking it. And I want my daughter to see that. I want her to know that it’s okay to not fit in the “popular” crowd. I want her to know that some of my favorite people & some of the most sincere & genuine people I know are also some of the strangest, most intense, out-of-the-box people in my life. They are also the people who have made mistakes, picked their head up & kept walking. They are people with strength because it takes real strength to be authentic in this world.

I find it interesting that Theta mom uses the word authentic in particular. I think this is probably why I was drawn to her blog in the first place. I am constantly telling people that one of the traits I value above others is authenticity. I talk about this a lot when it comes to Christianity. I don’t trust Christians who act like they have something to hide - Christians who act one way at church & a different way at home. It severely contradicts everything I have studied about Christ & makes me very uncomfortable. I value authenticity. If this means you admit your flaws & own up to your mistakes, then that’s what it means. Really, that’s what it should mean, because we all have those flaws & we all make those mistakes. In friends, I always look for authenticity; people who are true to themselves & true to me. I have friends who have nothing to hide, who admit their shortcomings & accept me with mine. 

So as a mother, being authentic has meant searching out the things that fit my family & the things that I believe are best for my daughter & then sticking with these things no matter what others may say. It means figuring out who I am & living that way so that my daughter sees a mother with character. It means making a commitment to her dad which is even stronger than the one we made when we got married - I will raise a child with him & accept the difficulties that brings in addition to the normal difficulties of marriage. It means being honest with her in the future & exhibiting authority, but also grace. It means constantly striving toward that goal of the woman, wife, mother that God wants me to be. It means holding myself to a high standard. It means evaluating every decision with integrity, conviction & love. It means being willing to say “this is me; take it or leave it” & then being okay if they leave it, because I cannot conform to someone else’s definition of a good mother or friend or Christian or wife or person. God made me a mother & I believe that by looking to Him & by partnering with my husband, we will be true, authentic parents. And I believe by doing this, we have a better chance of raising a true, authentic child.

More posts about me as a mom:
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Life Without Pink said...

Its true how much motherhood can change you and that you want to better yourself for your children. This was a great post :)

Maureen @ TatterScoops said...

I so love this! Especially the part where you said "I want my daughter to see strength & integrity in her mother. I may not be perfect, but I’m the same person in all circumstances." how very powerful is that and your daughter will cherish your authenticity and will hang on to it when she's all grown up.
Thanks for sharing this!

Theta Mom said...

I LOVED when you wrote, "Never before have I had such a strong need to buck up & be a real woman, a real wife, a real mother." Isn't that the truth??? And I also loved "I want my daughter to see strength & integrity in her mother." <----I am right there with you.

I also enjoyed how you defined authenticity for yourself and your life - and shared it with us. You most certainly ARE a Theta Mom. ;)

Mommyfriend Lori said...

WOnderful post, thanks for sharing and being so honest. I completely agreeabout wanting to do best by your child. Integrity in all things, it's what I strive for every single day.

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

You seem like a great mom to me...and one that love the good ol 80's Bon Jovi arena rock!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner

IASoupMama said...

Lovely post!

Although, I'd better not let my hubby read it as he has a real thing for "Newsies" since long before he met me. If he knew that there was a woman in existence who did, too, I might be out of luck...

Nicole said...

Excellent post! In real life, we'd probably fit in together as friends very well, I'm very similar in my actions!

I sure hope my step-daughter sees in me the things you've pointed out. I sure hope that I'm a good role-model for her (b/c my honest opinion, her mother isn't always, even though she is her true mother and doesn't do a terrible job either).

Dina said...

great post! all of the posts for this event have been so real and raw. and I love micheal

Cate said...

How awesome! I truly agree with what you are saying regarding authenticity and parenting. My daughter is almost 13 and I want her to see that being true to who she is will always be more important than trying to conform to society's rules about what she should be.
So much of how we view ourselves as women comes from our mothers or other strong maternal role models. I think you put beautifully into words what so many of us hope to do as well.
Wonderful post.

adriel, from the mommyhood memos said...

so good cameron. i think i could have commented exactly what theta mom said - your part about bucking up and being a real woman especially. isn't this the truth? some days i'm still mystified at how much i need to grow up when i catch a glimpse of my own selfishness and insecurities that i didn't even see before becoming a mother. thank God that our kids don't need perfection, but they do need authenticity and humility to be expressed from a platform of genuine love. mmmmm..... isis is a lucky girl.

Booyah's Momma said...

Wow. I know this sounds lame, but I can't even comment on what I liked about this post, because I loved it all. Well said, and so heartfelt!

Your daughter sounds like one lucky girl. Oh, and happy half birthday to her!

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