The Kind of Woman I Thought I’d Be

When I was younger, I thought I’d grow up to be the kind of woman who remembers people’s birthdays off the top of her head.

Without a doubt, I’d be the kind who sends anniversary cards that arrive on the exact date, who mails thank you notes in an appropriate amount of time and pens “just thinking of you” letters on pretty stationery for no reason at all. I didn’t foresee becoming the kind of woman whose thank you arrives four months too late and who stretches wedding gift giving to the upper limit of the customary one-year mark.

I thought I’d be the kind of woman who makes her children chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and tucks little notes into their lunchboxes stuffed with balanced, nutritionally-sound meals. I didn’t envision myself buying overpriced yogurt tubes and calling it a meal or letting my son eat plain pasta with cheese sprinkled on top four nights in a row.

I thought I’d be the kind of woman with easy, flawless pregnancies, who loved every minute of gestation and couldn’t wait to fill her house with four—maybe five—babies so we could be just like the chaotic but tight-knit sitcom families of my youth. I had no idea I’d be the kind of woman who lost her very first baby, the kind who occasionally wishes away her pregnant body in exchange for a glass of red wine, the kind who has often considered stopping at two children because, as it turns out, they’re much more expensive than she realized.

I thought I’d be the kind of woman whose house is clean more often than not, who folds clothes each night that her family wore earlier in the day, whose feet don’t turn black when she walks barefoot on her own kitchen floor. I am sincerely surprised that I still haven’t somehow morphed into my own mother, whose house looks like a veritable museum when compared with my cluttered pawn-shop-style dwelling.

foot

I thought I’d be the kind of woman who would always be at home in her own skin, who wouldn’t pinch and scrutinize and cover up from shame or discomfort. I certainly didn’t expect to be the kind of woman who throws away most of her early 20s clawing through a debilitating eating disorder that robbed her of every last shred of self love and would take nearly a decade from which to recover.

I had so many grand visions in my head of the kind of woman I would become someday. These images stayed with me as I navigated my late teens and early 20s; I figured I still had plenty of time to make them a reality. Once I entered my mid 20s, I saw the baton of adulthood being handed down from my parents. I was now the head of my own household—it was time I started bringing thoughtful gifts to family parties instead of tacking my name onto the bottom of my parents’ cards or letting their buffalo chicken dip serve as a contribution from all of us.

Then, suddenly, I was in my late 20s, with one baby and another on the way, when it finally dawned on me: maybe this is just who I was meant to be.

Maybe I never had it in me to be the organic-lunch-packing, just-thinking-of-you-card-sending, pregnant-body-loving woman I always saw myself becoming someday. Maybe I needed to finally let go of the kind of woman I thought I’d be to truly love and respect the woman I really am.

These days, I’m much happier, having finally given up the ghost of that woman who haunted me for most of my adult life. I can accept that I have many good qualities, even if sending timely thank you cards and remembering to dust my fan blades are not among them.

For the first time in my life, I am happy with the kind of woman I am. Even if she’s a far cry from the kind of woman I always thought I’d eventually become.

 

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Melissa Mowry

Melissa Mowry is a stay at home mom to 3 year old Chase and the slightly younger guy, Sam. She is the main voice behind One Mother to Another, which she started in July 2014 as a way to connect with other moms who felt just as lonely as she did some days. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Adam, and they live in their home state of Rhode Island. Melissa's work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, Coffee + Crumbs and Mamapedia, among others. Her book, One Mother to Another: This Is Just Between Us is for sale on Amazon.
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14 Responses to The Kind of Woman I Thought I’d Be

  1. Ali A June 10, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

    I love this post and I relate to it so much. We all often get so caught up in what we imagined our lives to look like or what we imagined OURSELVES to look like. Hell, if you would have told me back in high school that at 32 years old (almost 33!) I’d be single and childfree and still ‘figuring things out’ I probably would’ve been horrified.

    But I truly believe we all end up where we’re supposed to be and happiness is the end goal here; not perfection. And not doing things that we think we’re supposed to be doing, or what other people are doing.

    We’ve obviously never met but I can tell you are an amazing person and mom and I’m glad that we have this virtual friendship! Love reading all your posts. XO

    • One Mother to Another June 11, 2015 at 7:44 am #

      Aww thank you so much girl. I think you’re right–it’s the happiness part that matters, not the sticking to expectations of perfection That’ll just make us (more) insane. I love our internet friendship and I really hope we get to meet in person someday. Maybe the next BlogU??!

      • Ali A June 11, 2015 at 9:45 am #

        I’d love that! I never go to any of those events but need to start. I also need a duplicate AA made so I can find the time to do things :-/

        • One Mother to Another June 11, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

          It was so much fun. Totally worth the very affordable price. I will badger you until you go next year! 😉

  2. Nicole Johnson June 11, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    It has taken me until 40 to let go of the person I thought I should be. I am finally realizing who I need and want to be for myself and my family. You are way ahead of the game!!!! And your blog is awesome!

    • One Mother to Another June 15, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

      Aw thank you so much Nicole! I’m lucky to have people around me that help me keep things in perspective, like my awesome husband. I’m enough for the people who love me, so why shouldn’t I be enough for myself, right?

  3. Donna Miglino June 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    Those dirty feet only mean you are busy LIVING, instead of obsessing. Embrace the little messes. They’re a sign you are doing it all right:)

    • One Mother to Another June 12, 2015 at 5:48 pm #

      I love that perspective Donna 🙂

  4. natalie June 14, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    i love the pic of your feet. look just like mine. 🙂

    • One Mother to Another June 15, 2015 at 7:04 pm #

      I’m so glad I’m not alone!!

  5. Rachel June 15, 2015 at 12:07 am #

    Thanks for this – I’m going to print it out and add it to the other “You’re doing OK even when you don’t believe it” essays I keep next to my side of the bed, all of which I drag out and read through when I am having one of those days when I really, *really* don’t want to climb out from under my pillows and be an adult.

    I’m a couple decades older than you, and still have more days than not where I believe this is just the “interim” me, and any day now I will miraculously turn into one of the mothers I see at the bus stop, who at 8am are freshly showered, dressed in gym clothes, holding a homemade carrot-quinoa muffin, and chatting while their child – inevitably also well dressed and showered, wearing his team sport jersey and carrying his band instrument – hangs out with the other “cool kids” on the sidewalk. I will not remain the mom who, given half a chance will be getting dressed sometime around noon, if dressed means pulling the least dirty stretch pants and Tshirt out of the pile on top of my dresser. That, by the way, is where both my newly-washed clothes and the “clean enough” ones I take off go, because the drawers are full of the too-small clothes I swear I will fit in again someday.

    Inevitably, the illusion of this being just a transition time to the perfect me is shattered by something. Tonight, it was when my 24 year old (who yes, has moved back in after college, and is not a doctor like I expected 23 years ago when he was learning to walk) asked me what was for dinner (at 8:30 at night, but hey, it’s still light out) and I held up the bag I was holding and said “Well, I’m having donuts”, at which my 11 year old (who yes, has spent much of this beautiful Sunday playing games online with his friends) said “Oh, so it’s a snatch and grab night” without even breaking stride in whatever conversation he was having with his pals. My 19 year old didn’t say anything, just headed to the kitchen and came back with a big bowl of cereal.

    • One Mother to Another June 15, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

      Wow you have such a beautiful way with words Rachel. Are you writer too? I’m really glad my piece resonated so deeply with you. It’s hard being a mother (and a woman in general) and we all deserve a little grace.

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