My biggest challenge in motherhood – by far – has been timidness. There was a steep learning curve when that first little guy came along. I was a young mom. Not young enough to have any sort of helpful rebel drive, but not yet old enough to have the clarity I needed to call the shots. It’s not so much that I had trouble with breastfeeding, making my mind up about vaccinations or getting people to offer their help. I was just too timid to speak up and say what I wanted. What I deserved. I was too immature to know better.
When the dermatologist said I was crazy for worrying about that thing on my baby’s skin, I should have gotten a second opinion. When that breast pump didn’t work, or that crib mattress didn’t fit, I should have spoken up. When those unheralded words of advice came pouring in and I was just desperate for a nap or a take-out pizza, why didn’t I SAY so?
I think it’s a woman thing. Politeness gets in our way. Even amidst swollen ankles and cracked nipples, spit-up and liquidy diapers…we can’t risk being poor-mannered.
I’ve always said that our genders are equal. We should have fair opportunities in this world to pursue our dreams, but I genuinely think that there is something in our nature or our upbringing that makes women different. Why do you never see the female lion roaring before the movie? It’s always a male’s epic snarl. We get shushed and told to wait in line until our turn.
What I’ve come to realize is this: motherhood is time to take our turn. We’ve earned it. It may not happen immediately. But in time, that maternal instinct kicks in and washes away timidity for every formerly-shy mom. I’ve grown more in the two-and-a-half years since having my first son than I did the rest of my life. Around the time my son celebrated his second birthday, I celebrated the birth of a more confident me. A me who knows when to say “No” and how to speak up…even if it seems “out of turn.”
How have your children changed you?