Since a young age, I’ve always felt that I meant for big things. At one point I wanted to be an actress living in Hollywood. At age 8 I wanted to be a doctor. My senior year of high school my dream was to attend Georgetown, get my masters in Communication and Government, and become a writer for The Washington Post. My freshman year of college I had all these plans of traveling to Israel, broadening my photography career, and being a top-notch student.
Then Jack came.
Plans changed. At 19 years old I had a baby boy. I dropped out of school and worked full-time. I never went to Israel, my photography career ended, and my days of being a student were over. I went from one end of the spectrum to another. My life revolved around baby clothes and breastfeeding classes, and that was okay. It was a new and exciting adventure. I love being a mom more than anything in this world, so don’t get me wrong.
This phase in my life, I feel I’ve slowly faded into the background. In just a month, all of the kids I grew up with will be graduating college. Some are doctors going on to medical school, others are nurses, others are going on to graduate school for law and political science. There are even a few living in L.A. trying to make their way in the music and acting industry. And here I am, a 21 year old single mom slowly taking online classes, looking for work wherever I can.
There are times when I feel…insignificant. Like I don’t matter. Like I’ll never live up to my own expectations. What’s worse than trying to impress my ghost of a mother is trying to impress myself. Frankly, I’m harder on myself than anyone has ever been. A part of me thinks, if I shatter my own expectations, disappointing everyone else won’t feel quite as bad. Good way to live, right?
It doesn’t have to be like this. I tell myself. You don’t have to keep feeling like this. You can be different.
When I’m upset, I shut down. I close out everything and everyone around me. I mull over whatever situation I’m in and complain about every little detail. I cry until I can’t breathe. And I’m tired of it. I refuse to be the mom that I grew up with. She would lock herself in her room and smoke. Cigarettes, weed. There were no family dinners or mom and daughter talks. There was no bond.
I think I’m a lot like my mother. Normally I would say that with hesitance, but today, I’m proud. Like her, I’m quiet. Intense. Regretful. Worrying about everything 98% of the time. I keep my feelings in, build it up, and crash. But there’s one big difference between my mother and I. I’m not giving up on myself.
Though my plans keep changing, and I hate that they keep changing without my consent, I can’t do anything about it. I’m constantly evolving and learning. No, I’m not a famous actress or journalist traveling the world. Not even close to it. I am a mom. I wipe boogers on a daily basis. I dry tears, wipe nasty butts, and cook animal shaped foods. I know every word to the Minions movie. I am a successful mother. I love my son. I love every moment we spend together. We have a bond.
I’m not a top-notch student, or even a top-notch mom. I wash my hair probably twice a week and wear makeup maybe once a week. I’m not like the beautiful, “I’ve got my shit together” moms you see all over the internet (especially Pinterest, gag). My shit is so not together. I am a hot freaking mess.
I am a top-knot mom.