Parent Bloggers Network is asking this question today, inspired by Kevin Burke of Light Iris, a new site for moms which will be launching on Mother's Day. Kevin has been wearing a pregnancy suit for the past month, trying to answer that very question. Or at least to understand motherhood more.
To me, being a mother is less about the physical and more about the emotional. Something definitely changes within your body chemistry when you become a mother. Sure, pregnancy hormones account for some of that wackiness but I imagine there's a switch that flips for adoptive moms, too, and signals the moment you know your life has changed. It's like your body informs you that life is not all about you anymore.
My husband is a great daddy. He loves our daughter and spends probably more time with her than the average father since he works from home. But he doesn't live and breathe her the way I do. I don't mean that in a competitive way, it's just a fact. He has his own life and interests and plenty of stuff that isn't even tangentially related to Roo. I never, ever expected to feel this way but EVERYTHING in my life has something to do with my kid. Not that I don't have hobbies, not that I always want her around (mommy needs a shower or to take a poop in peace once in a while!), but I swear I am always thinking about her. If I could accurately describe this feeling in words, it would sound absolutely insane and perhaps even stalker-ish. I think what makes you a mother is that amorphous stuff that has been termed "maternal instinct."
I never expected to have any of that. I wasn't the girl next door who always wanted kids, I rarely babysat, I didn't play with baby dolls. I wasn't expecting to be a stay at home mom. Or like it. I still am creeped out by most other kids. But I love watching my daughter grow, anticipating her next milestones, seeing her think and make her own decisions. I wonder how I can help her enjoy things, learn from everything, challenge her more. I am genuinely engaged in this little person who happened to pop out of my nethers three years ago. And now she talks to the one growing in my belly and tells him all about the things she's planning to teach and show him. It makes me worry less that I won't have enough love for both of them.
The weirdest thing about what makes me a mother: it makes my own mother make sense. Well, a little more sense.
Light Iris is having a pretty swanky Celebration of Today's Moms Sweepstakes, check it out!