What do you want to be when you grow up? I’m sure all of us can remember sitting in an elementary school classroom and being asked that very question by a teacher. If you caught my feature on Mini Magazine last week, you likely saw that as a kid I wanted to be a neonatal nurse. Once I learned of how many tragic experiences those professionals encounter in that career, I quickly changed my mind. However, the one thing that never quite left my head and heart was motherhood. I have always been maternal, and I could not wait to have my own littles running around! A recent trip to New York City reminded me of the plans I made for my motherhood journey way before I became a mom. I could have never predicted the surprises life had in store for me. I’m happy to share a few of them with you in today’s blog.
Pregnant With Expectation
Like so many expectant mothers, I was ecstatic when I discovered I was pregnant. Several dreams floated around in my mind about what kind of mom I’d be, and what experiences I’d have with my future child(ren). I won’t lie to you. I wanted girls. With both of my pregnancies I predicted I was having girls.
As you can see from the above photo, I was very wrong, lol. I was blessed with two adorable baby boys. While I was thrilled to have my healthy bouncing babies, I assumed I would have to mourn some of the wishes I previously had when I thought I’d be a girl mom. What life showed me was that motherhood is a journey equally full of anticipation and shock. I was about to get one of the biggest unexpected lessons of my life.
A Fashionable Trip to the Big Apple
In mid April of this year I set out on a work trip that would span the course of several weeks. I headed to the East Coast to participate in an event called Design on a Dime. I brought my boys with me for this trip to New York City, and they had a blast. We traveled to New York, then to High Point, North Carolina, and then back to New York, so you can imagine what our luggage was like! Because I knew it would be chilly both on the plane and at our destination, I had the boys each wear one of my fur coats. This proved to be extremely helpful when it came to saving space in our suitcases! But, it drew my attention to something much bigger than packing efficiency.
During our time in New York, the boys and I (and even their grandmother!) kept busy with several fun adventures. They visited the Statue of Liberty, saw a few shows, and even took a carriage ride through the city. I watched as they walked down those Manhattan streets, owning them as if they were their own personal catwalk. These kids proudly wore my fur coats without thinking anything of it, and they rocked the look! While the kids got to explore the city with grandma, mommy had to work. I took a few meetings and met with companies I would be partnering with. In one of those meetings I selected a few jewelry pieces that I wore for a photoshoot. Later that night when I arrived back at our hotel, my boys took notice of the accessories and decided they wanted to wear them the next day.
Tossing Gender Norms
You’re probably wondering what any of these escapades have to do with my motherhood experience. Well, when I was pregnant and wishing for a girl, I pictured matching “mommy-and-me” ensembles, sharing my jewelry, and cute dates to the nail salon. Never in a million years would I have imagined I’d be walking through New York with my sons donning bejeweled tiger and cheetah necklaces and fur coats!
Last year during a visit to Lake Arrowhead, my sons and I stopped into the cutest little eccentric boutique. It was the kind of store that sold “fabulous grandma chic”, and we were all about it! Kingsley found a cool electric blue jacket that he loved and tried it on. I heard the sales associate tell him to “stop playing around and take it off.” I guess she thought it was inappropriate for a little boy to wear something originally designed for a woman. But, fashion isn’t about gender.
The mama bear in me emerged, ready to protect my innocent Kingsley. I told him he could have it if he liked it. Both of my boys left that store with jackets they liked that day. We had the blue suede jacket and tie-dyed jacket hemmed so they would fit the kids, and both boys proudly wear them each chance they get. Our time in N.Y. made me reminisce on that encounter, and I realized that my little family has never played by the traditional gender rules. We don’t subscribe to that.
Unexpected Adventures in Motherhood
Do your kids shock you with their interests? Mine do, daily. They love trips to the nail salon. I don’t think they’re ever as quiet as they are when they’re getting pampered. I sit between them while we get pedicures. Kingsley gets no polish, but Kensi likes green on his toenails. These were experiences I thought I’d only have with daughters. After all, when I was pregnant no one was talking about sharing necklaces with their sons! Now, we regularly see bold looks on men at red carpet events and parties. No one bats an eye when Steven Tyler wears eyeliner. It wasn’t strange when Prince wore ruffles and heels. We just accepted their avant-garde style. Motherhood, and more specifically being a mom to two boys has taught me lessons about my own preconceived notions and biases around gender. I didn’t expect to have boys who love accessorizing with mommy’s pearls and taking care of their own jewelry collection! But that’s the beauty of it all. Life creates opportunities for you to have the moments you’re supposed to have, even if they don’t occur the way you envisioned them.
Our time in New York was amazing, and it sparked so much internal reflection. When I was dreaming of all these sweet moments I wanted to have with a little girl, I was so focused on those occasions being specific to moms and daughters, that I couldn’t open myself up to the possibility of what I have now. I realize it was never about gender at all! Instead, I was searching for connection points with my kids. I wanted to share passions and interests with them. That’s something I do today, on a regular basis with my seven and nine year old sons. I’m so grateful that life worked out this way. Turns out, I needed exactly what I received. So, if you’re an expectant mom, just be sure to allow things to unfold. Motherhood is full of surprises, and you’re built for every single one of them.