We all started out with a game plan.
From that first moment when we gasped in surprise at the pregnancy test in the early morning hours, we began to make our plan.
We read the books. We formed our opinions. We made lists, adopted strategies, and crafted plans for what we would do IF and WHEN. We saw the teams, we watched the debates, and we chose a side. We knew exactly what kind of mother we wanted to be, and even more precisely the kind of mother we would certainly never be. We made our choices before they asked to be made, and we stamped our approval on opinions and practices before we even met the people they would be used for.
We planted our feet firmly in one camp, or the other, and proudly wore the colors of our chosen team. Our faces were painted, our uniforms were on, and we were ready to play this glorious game of motherhood.
And then we met them. We saw their tiny faces, held their tight little fists, kissed their scrunched noses. They blinked their saucer eyes at ours, and we were smitten.
They screamed at our strategies. They laughed at our lists. They plotted against our plans. Rocking for hours in the chair you swore you’d never rely on, snuggling in the family bed you insisted was a mistake, tearing apart your house to find the one special pacifier that you promised you’d never allow, those were the moments when you began to understand.
Somewhere along the way, in a whisper or a windstorm, the message is received. Quietly, sweetly, or maybe loudly and painfully, our babies showed us the way. As the truth became clear, we realized: we had prepared for the wrong game.
In this game, our opponent isn’t other mothers; we aren’t here to make better choices and have more successful children than other mothers. Our opponent isn’t our children; it isn’t about making them conform to our will or learn to meet our expectations. We are all on the same team. All mothers, all children, all of us are on the same team. And we are all in this game together.
Disease, isolation, selfishness, hate, greed, fear…life.
Health, security, love, gratitude, relationship, community, worth, growth…life.
This game is far bigger, far more important, and leaps and bounds more meaningful than what brand of diapers we use or how we get our babies to sleep.
This game is life, and we are Team Motherhood: teammates who need each other, arms linked in strength and solidarity, forever connected in both friendship and ferocity.