Motherhood Didn’t Magically Change Me, But It Showed Me Who I Need

I'm still waiting on that "mature gene" to fully kick in.

By Liberty McArtor Published on May 8, 2020

The other day, on approximately my 20th time through Gilmore Girls, I came once again to Season 7, episode 20. “When did you get so mature?” Rory asks best friend Lane at a karaoke bar. “I don’t know, I guess the mature gene kicks in once you become a mother,” Lane says.

A lot of women my age can’t imagine ourselves becoming a mother. Sure, we imagine having kids someday. But it’s weird to think of oneself as Mom. Mom knows where that lost thing of yours is. Mom can plan meals and coordinate errands and knows when you need to go to the doctor. Mom is both disciplinarian and comforter, and knows what to say when you’re upset. Mom is confident and keeps everyone safe.

As Lane puts it, Mom is mature. How does that happen?

What Changed, What Didn’t

Before giving birth to my son, I looked forward to that “mature gene” kicking in. I definitely didn’t feel like Mom, even while pregnant. I didn’t know if I’d be able to hold my baby without dropping him, let alone provide him with the care and guidance he’ll need for at least the next 18 years.

When my son arrived, I found I did know what to do. For instance, I was able to hold him confidently and without fear (most of the time). There’s science behind this. Research shows mothers’ brains undergo intense changes throughout pregnancy and upon delivery.

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But that doesn’t mean everything changes. Friends have asked me how it feels to be a mom. I usually reply, “I still feel like me.”

That’s the thing about motherhood. It doesn’t magically make you into a better person. I experienced new love and new fears, but had the same struggles and insecurities. I still lost my temper and snapped at my husband. Eventually I even snapped at my toddler, as a fierce little attitude grew right alongside his sweet personality.

Nearly every day, I wonder if I’m doing enough to help him learn about colors, words, and animal sounds — and about God. I worry about the future, including the trouble he’ll get into, and how I’ll handle it. I worry. Like a child, not a mature adult.

Moms Are People, Too

Motherhood has taught me that moms are people. We don’t always know what we’re doing, even if we make it seem like we do so our kids don’t worry. We’re not always brave, and not always confident we have what it takes to protect the little ones entrusted to us. Contrary to what Lane Kim opines in the final season of Gilmore Girls, we don’t automatically become super mature — not all the time.

Sure, biology gives us a leg up, but there’s still a gap in our abilities to be the woman we need to be for them. Being Mom to some little boy or girl is a big responsibility. Souls are at stake. All the more reason to acknowledge the gap, and press into our ever present Help, every single day.

 

Liberty McArtor, former staff writer for The Stream, is a freelance writer in the great state of Texas, where she lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex with her husband and son. Follow Liberty on Twitter @LibertyMcArtor, or learn more about her at LibertyMcArtor.com.

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