Stay supported, connected, and healthy during COVID-19
Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and very few fit the Hallmark description of what a mother looks like. I came to motherhood with preconceived notions about what was expected of me and how I would measure my success as a mom. I was positive that I would be great at it; my kids would never <fill in the blank> and I would never <fill in the blank> but guess what – they did and so did I.
We become moms in all kinds of ways – some are “biological” moms, some are “adoptive” moms, some become the “de facto or surrogate” mom, stepping in to fill a gap. Does it matter? The joys and the heartaches are the same. No woman ever held a child in her arms, feeling simultaneously incompetent and all powerful and applied any kind of qualifier – she’s a mom.
Moms are supposed to be super heroes who never struggle with substance use disorder or mental health frailties. They are miraculously born with the innate knowledge of how to love the unlovable and fix the unfixable and keep the family unit complete and whole. And when she’s unable to do all of that, she willingly takes on the full responsibility of the “failure.”
She loves unconditionally while realizing the need to put all kinds of conditions on those around her to save them and herself. She sees her own insecurities, shortcomings and illness in the eyes of those she swore to love, protect and cherish. Promises made, and promises broken, she seldom gives herself credit for all the ones she kept in spite of the struggles she faced. No one ever expects to become addicted. No one ever plans to be homeless. No one believes their super-star, honor roll student will one day struggle with a mental illness. No mom ever dreams of burying her child long before she buries her parents. Motherhood doesn’t come with a playbook. No one tells you what comes after Plan B, C, D or so on – you figure it out along the way. Sometimes you don’t.
So, here’s to all the moms out there. Those who are fighting for their own recovery, those who are fighting for the lives of their at-risk children and those who have lost the fight at times along the way. Every mom who feels she doesn’t love enough or do enough, who is second-guessing every decision, every choice, every turn she ever made - here’s to you. Because the prize goes to all those who fall and get back up, to all those who give when they feel they have nothing left to give. The prize goes to us – those who remain in the arena, scarred, bloodied, broken, resilient – victorious because we stay.
Pattie Vargas is a Shatterproof Ambassador