Feb 11, 2019 - Things to Do

I love being a mother, and hate being a Mom

Mothers steer the ship. They delegate. They accomplish incredible things whether they work outside the home or not.

Moms, with a capital M, are exhausted. And stressed. If Moms don’t participate in the busy olympics, they don’t fit in.

Are you even a Mom if you don’t need wine every night? Or at least, joke about how you do?

Mothers inspire, mothers lead, mothers are raising the next generation.

Moms, with a capital M, are famous for yoga pants and Goldfish crushed in the seats of their cars and judgy Facebook threads.

Let me be clear – I’m not against yoga pants. Very pro yoga pant. Very pro Goldfish. Pro Facebook (most of the time). I am against the notion that you assume you know anything about me now, just because I am a parent and a woman at the same time.

I am still the same me from before. And that really shouldn’t feel so controversial.

People who talk to mothers are happy to have discussions about education and parenting philosophy, the trials and triumphs.

People who talk to Moms insist on having them show off baby photos on their phones in meetings, even though your male coworker with kids has never been asked, not once.

Could we get back to the agenda, please? This mother has to get s*** done.

Moms are supposed to put their children first and only first, always.

Mothers put their families first – and you know who that family includes? A mother.

I’m the president of Axios Charlotte and I’m a mother. Those identities co-exist perfectly well, to me. I’m proud to be both. But when I’m actually with my child or she comes up in any way, I am turned into your perception of “Mom” whether I like it or not.

I was out getting lunch recently on a day off with my child, and ran into two different groups of people who know me professionally.

Honestly I wasn’t dressed more casually than any other day – in jeans, not athleisure. Neither of the groups even recognized me. It’s like they saw a baby and looked right past me, or through me.

Hi, there. Remember? I am still me, whether I have a baby or not.

Fathers who miss a work event because of parenting are playing dad. It’s cute. Mothers who miss a work event because of parenting are being Moms, and it’s so not cute. You’re a Mom, it feels like they’re thinking. Shouldn’t you have this handled?

Mothers are women. They can be sophisticated, powerful and beautiful.

Can you be any of those things and a Mom with capital M at the same moment? I really don’t know. No wonder the word gives me an identity crisis.

At first I struggled. I knew I was happy as a parent but there was something I was resisting. As it turns out, it was the outside stuff I didn’t like. I hated the stereotypes I could feel bubbling up around me when I didn’t expect it. Those stereotypes don’t align with what I believe about myself. And when you think about it, none of those things have much to do with parenting itself.

I am so freaking grateful to have a healthy, happy child. I love spending time with her. I love taking her on adventures. I love bath time. I love watching her learn.

I don’t love that you assume I’ll feel guilty any time I travel without her. I don’t.

Now that I see the distinction more clearly, I can wear “Mom” like a hat. I can take it on and off. I can play along if I need to – because I know who I am and who I’m not.

You won’t find me rocking a LCYSMOM vanity plate. You won’t find me calling other women “mama” on Instagram. But you will find me doing the work of motherhood, day in and day out. Showing up at home and doing the best that I can do. Showing up at work so that I can build a great life for my family.

That’s my version of motherhood – whatever you want to call it.

Cristina Wilson is the President of Axios Charlotte. You can follow her adventures in writing, work and (yes) motherhood at @cristinaevamaria. Cover image by Richard Israel


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