Being A Mom Is Off-Brand For Me, But I'm Embracing It

Being a "mom" doesn't always look how you would expect.

Woman who enjoys traveling and freedom becoming a mother DisobeyArt, Gajus | Canva

I was never that woman who dreamed of becoming a mother. Did I envision myself with children? Sure, one day. But it wasn’t something that I lived and breathed. If it happened, cool; if not, that would be okay, too. 

For me — a now 32-year-old lanky, clumsy 'tom-boy' with limited 'lady-like etiquette' (currently writing this while devouring a box of Cheez-Its) who has spent the last 10 years traveling the world and living abroad — it was getting harder to picture myself as one of them: a mom.


Nevertheless, I also thought how amazing it would be to bring a child into this world — the world I loved exploring so much. My husband and I always agreed that once we turned 30, we’d revisit the conversation about kids.

When that day happened, needless to say, it crept up on us sooner than I thought, we felt it couldn’t hurt to "give it a try" and see what would happen. (If that alone is not telling of how completely naïve I was, then I don’t know what is).

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So, after throwing a 13-going-on-30 birthday party in the summer of 2021, we left for a trip to Romania (the first of any in two years due to the pandemic) and essentially rolled the dice.


Six weeks later, I took a test, and I was very pregnant indeed.

Up until that point, though. I was a lot of things: A traveler, a writer, an explorer, an anxiety-ridden individual who could never sit still very long. I still put my legs up on the dashboard as a passenger in the car (even though my dad warned me to stop doing this), lost my glasses constantly, and was often buried in a book with crinkled pages because I accidentally spilled water all over it.

I felt all of these qualities were the opposite of how I pictured what a mom should be. 

Stability and routine weren’t my thing. I was still a nail-biter, and I lived in sweatpants (turns out so do most moms) and I liked my sleep. You know, someone who had their life together just enough, but not enough to be a mother.


After all, shouldn’t a mom be, like, a MOM? Someone who makes a nutritious yet yummy breakfast at the same time every day? Who orders subscriptions, has set haircut appointments, and attends yoga classes on the regular?

Someone who lives in the suburbs and drives a car bigger than a sedan? 

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Luckily, my unexpected type-A personality helped with the big stuff: putting together the list of items we needed, ordering bottles and diapers, finding a pediatrician, folding her clothes and putting them away in the changing table storage containers, understanding developmental milestones, and hunting down formula in a national formula shortage, etc.


But, how was I supposed to be seen out of my usual element, trading the backpacker backpack for a baby on the hip?  Was I even physically strong enough to carry a baby (both while pregnant and after she was born)? 

And, then I found out I was having a girl.

Dun, dun, dun.

Could I choose a name I was certain about? (It took a while).

Would I be able to dress her 'properly'? (Surprise, she wears mostly sweats and t-shirts like her mama).

Could I do her hair? (She’s got a 'fro, so let that run all-natural, girl).

Would I keep her car seat free of schmutz? (I’ll admit, our stroller could use a cleaning). 

Would I even be able to push her out, and hold her naked to my bare chest after she came out of me, even though I knew I wasn’t going to breast-feed?


Could I wake up at night when I hadn't needed an alarm (thanks to my freelance career) in a decade? 

Could I push the stroller with purpose? Could I even unfold it and fold it without sweating bullets? (Not really — still struggling).

And, would I be able to sing in my ear-piercing singing voice to soothe her to sleep? (It would take a lot more than singing to get her down, but guess what? Babies just love their mother’s voice, no matter what).

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When she came out six hours after my first contraction like clockwork — literally, the morning after I put on vacation responder for work —  I had absolutely no idea what I was in for. 


And, a few weeks later when I finally got out of zombie mode (the transition from not-mom, to mom) people would tell me, "You’re doing a great job!," I’d shrug and say, "Thanks, but this is just so off-brand for me." 

Eventually, though, I realized that "mom" doesn't always look like how you would think.

It took some time to get to a place where I felt confident doing what I needed to do, of having a baby with me. Of referring to myself as 'Mom.' My husband seemed way more natural at it than me, but nevertheless, I got used to this new version of myself. 


In fact, for most of us, 'mom' looks messy, exhausted, and emotional, with a smile plastered on our faces so we're always showing up for our babies. (Unless you’re the one in the mom’s group on your second kid, fully dressed, with clean hair, ready for the day, and on your fifth coffee like it’s nobody’s business.)

I’m still me, though. 

I’m 'Mom', yes. But, you can still be a mom even if your version of what a mom should look like isn’t what you see when you look in the mirror.

Because all that matters is that when my daughter looks up at me, I’m Mom to her, no matter what.

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Hana LaRock is a freelance writer, copywriter, and SEO content strategist with 10+ years of experience in many industries. She is also a journalist who enjoys writing about travel, lifestyle, relationships, motherhood, and personal finance.