I heard the quote tonight that when we become mothers, we stop being the picture and start being the frame.
You may agree or disagree, and in spite of me wanting to stand up and shout "I'm still my own person too!"- I'm inclined to agree with this statement.
Let's try it out:
Addison has Down syndrome. OH NO!!! It's my picture, and it's ruined! But wait. It's HER picture full of unique beauty, and I am the frame.
or even farther back than that:
Oh look- I just had a BABY! Yay me!! Let's celebrate this day as the day I GAVE BIRTH. Oh wait. It's now this tiny person's birthday? It's all about celebrating her new existence and not what I did to get her here? Becoming the frame.
I can't BELIEVE he is taking so long to hit X milestone! Doesn't he understand I NEED this for facebook bragging rights? But then again- it's HIS milestone, HIS pace of achieving it, and HIS personal point of victory when it arrives. Picture. Frame.
I've been thinking about this a lot in regards to how I have fed my babies.
Addison, because of extremely low muscle tone, needed to be fed by a g-tube. For those of you who don't know what a g-tube is- it is a surgically placed device that allowed me to "pour" food directly into her stomach. There was a time that I took this as a personal failure. Didn't she understand? I NEEDED to breastfeed her. I was pumping and doing everything I could to get her there- but she never arrived. HOW DARE SHE. Actually- it was about Addison, what she needed, and how her body would receive sustenance in order to thrive. I was merely the frame, doing everything in my power to display her picture according to what was needed for survival.
Carter- wasn't a fan of breastfeeding himself. I beat myself up over this so much when I finally had to stop pumping and put him on formula. HE WAS RUINING MOTHERHOOD FOR ME! Except- not at all. I was the mere frame, doing my very best with what I was given.
I think the reason I have been thinking so much about this lately is because of how well Eli has been breastfeeding. He loves to breastfeed SO much, he absolutely will not take a bottle. Nope. In fact, he gets quite angry when offered one.
The thing is- I am the same mother who has done her very best for each of these babies.
2. bottle only
3. breast only
If this was my picture- I think it would be safe to assume that this would be a much more uniform list. Since it is ALL ABOUT ME. And yet? I have three separate pictures that I get the privilege of framing. Three children with three different personalities, three different infanthoods, and three different sets of needs.
I guess the bigger lesson that I have learned through these three very separate feeding experiences, is that motherhood is not about me. Not even a little bit.
Motherhood isn't about me doing everything "right". Motherhood isn't about me avoiding or stacking on guilt whenever possible. Motherhood isn't about me feeling superior or inferior to any other mother.
Motherhood is simply- framing and protecting the beautiful picture sent my way. Even if it's a bright picture when I expected a dark one. Or too much yellow when I was hoping for purple. Or perhaps full of horizontal stripes when I have an obsession with polka dots.
I don't get to choose. I'm the frame.
I've been giving myself a lot more grace in motherhood lately. Sure, there are still moments when I freak out about how many vegetables I can get my kids to eat that day- or spend too long worrying about a toddler tantrum or if they're having too much screen time. But something about the busyness of three kids has helped me step back, do the essentials, love them unconditionally, and know that I am doing my very best for them and that it is enough.
Framing is exhausting but beautiful work. The best part is? I get to enjoy these three gorgeous pictures every single day as they change, colors swirl, and pictures develop into more mature versions of themselves. The privilege truly is humbling.