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 orNewsies 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 strengthbecause 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.