I did not achieve my son. He is the embodiment of my dreams and wishes, but he is not my accomplishment.
I am greeted every morning by a somewhat whiney, blue eyed, strawberry blond haired boy who turns my world upside on a daily basis. He loves trains, cars, and playing doctor. He is smart and funny, as smart and funny as a two year old can be. He currently has an obsession with Youtube videos and telling me no when he really means yes. He throws tantrums and gets time out. He pees in the potty and receives praise. He is passion and free spirit rolled into a ball of energy that plays and plays until he can play no more.
And I get to watch him bounce from here to there and have the pleasure of catching him when he falls. I smile when he reaches up from his near sleep state to hold my hair. I laugh when he pours water on my arms while I’m trying to give him a bath. I oblige when he tells me to tickle him because there is nothing is sweeter than his giggles that fill our living room.
I am overjoyed to be him mommy. I am proud to be his mommy.
But he is not my accomplishment.
I have seen many memes on social media that read to the effect that children are our greatest accomplishment. In the past, I have agreed with this sweet sentiment, but this last time I saw such a meme, I shook my head. I no longer look at my son as my accomplishment. He isn’t.
I didn’t have to work to get pregnant. It was a surprise for my husband and me, a happy surprise, but a surprise none the less. I didn’t put painstaking hours into combining cells and creating organs. Some would say that’s what pregnancy did. They’re right, of course, my body helped to accomplish those things, but it did so without any conscious effort from me. It was on autopilot. I didn’t study and pass a test to give him those big blue eyes I get lost in. I didn’t work day in and day out to shape his lips or make his heart beat. My body just did what it was supposed to do without any help from me.
I did not achieve my son. He is a growing little human that I get to help along the way. He is a blessing, and sometimes a terror when he’s angry. He is the embodiment of my dreams and wishes, but he is not my accomplishment.
My accomplishment is the environment I am creating for him. I am striving to create a happy, safe, and fulfilling life for him. We paint. We read. We play. I make him dinner, some healthy, some not so healthy, but I make sure he gets the nutrition he needs. I remind him to say please and thank you. I discipline him when need be and make sure he understands why he is being disciplined. I let him indulge in silliness and engage his creativity.
I try to keep him out of harm’s way. Let’s face it, though. Most little boys are chaos and mine is no different. He likes to romp and jump and sometimes he jumps too far. Sometimes he bumps his head. Sometimes he falls down. When he does, though, I’m there to comfort, when he needs it, slap a band-aid on, and help him get back out there.
I will never successfully complete my task as mommy. It’s not a check mark on my “to do” list, like grocery shopping or walking the dog. There won’t come a day I wake up and say, “I’m done being Mom, now. He doesn’t need me.” The reality is my son is a life I have been entrusted to nurture and guide. And no matter how old he is that will always be my role.
I will never be done being Mom and he will never be my accomplishment.
Would you like to help us shatter stereotypes about men?
Receive stories from The Good Men Project, delivered to your inbox daily or weekly.
Photo credit: Getty Images