It was one of my first “real” jobs out of college, and I had been put through the ringer to get the position. I’m talking three rounds of interviews—one with the General Manager, one with the HR director, and one panel interview with all of the department heads—plus a writing test. The day I got the call offering me the gig, I hung up the phone and immediately jumped up and down like a giddy schoolgirl. ME! They picked me! For a real job! With a real salary!
Dressed in a classy black dress and pale pink pumps, I showed up on the first day of work with my hair curled and mascara carefully applied. I had been sitting down at my desk for approximately four minutes when the General Manager called me into his office for an impromptu meeting. A wave of panic washed over me as I stood up and straightened my dress. What am I doing here? Do they know who they hired? Am I even qualified for this job?
I felt like an imposter. A fraud. An epic human resources mistake.
Those feelings stuck around for a while until I found my groove, but then I quit that job and started a new one. I began blogging and dabbling in photography on the side, and pretty soon I was right back there in imposter-land. People started asking if I was a “writer” or a “photographer” and I was quick to shut them down.
“Oh no, not me,” I winked, “I just do that stuff for fun.”
On the outside, I could fake confidence when I needed to, but on the inside, I was so full of doubt I couldn’t see straight. To this day, every single time I show up for a photoshoot, I have a mild panic attack in the parking lot before meeting my clients. Do they know I’m self-taught? What if I screw this up? Are they really going to pay me money to take their pictures? I’m terrified that someone is going to figure me out. Every night before I publish a blog post (yep, even this one), I worry that people are going to see right through me, and not in a good, she’s-so-wonderfully-transparent sort of way, but in a who-does-this-girl-think-she-is sort of way. On my best days, I own the title of “writer” and “photographer” with tenacity, certain that God has laid those gifts on my heart and wants me to pursue them for His glory. On my worst days, I feel like I’m singlehandedly running the biggest scam in the world, pretending to be someone I’m not.
Have you ever felt like an imposter in your job?
Have you ever felt like an imposter as a mom?
I have. I think it happened at the very first ultrasound appointment when the technician confirmed that there was, indeed, a baby in there. A baby? Inside me? It was preposterous.
I still remember driving home from the hospital with that same baby in his brand new carseat, drowning in a newborn outfit that was far too big for him. I sat beside him in the backseat staring at his tiny face, incredulous that we were allowed to bring him home. We knew nothing, and yet we somehow knew enough for the hospital staff to let us bring home an actual baby that would be under our care for the next eighteen years.
Since then, there have been several times when I have felt like an imposter as a mom. Always at the pediatrician’s office when I suddenly feel like I’m 12, being regularly lectured about my baby’s weight as if I'm failing a very important homework assignment. Always at Target when my 3 year-old is throwing a tantrum and people are staring at me, unsure if I am the mother or the babysitter and why isn’t she handling that better? Always when I need to fill out a parenting sheet of any kind, like the 72-page preschool form that asks questions like, "What is your child's blood type?" and "What is your child's personality?" and—let's not forget the most important—"What word does your child use to describe a bowel movement?"
They want ME to answer those questions?!
On my best days, I believe I am fully equipped for this responsibility—and, even better—that I am the one God chose for these children, that I am the one He designed to love them. On my worst days, I question everything. Was I really ready for this? Am I truly equipped for this responsibility? I worry that I don’t worry enough, that I’m not emotional enough, that my motherly instincts aren’t as strong as others. I worry that I’m too young for this role, too selfish, that I’m just a child raising children, and that any day now, someone is going to figure me out.
As I write this, of course, I know that I am not an imposter. These are my feelings, these are not the facts. They are lies that I constantly fight in my head.
Maybe you’re fighting them too?
Well listen up, momma.
Today I am going to channel some confidence for both of us.
You, momma, are not an imposter. You have been called right here, right now, for such a time as this. God has placed you in this role, with these children, and you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Whether you tried to get pregnant for seven years or seven minutes, that baby was not an accident; that baby was Divinely Planned. Whether you adopted from across the world or across your neighborhood, that child was not brought to you by chance or luck, that child was brought to you because you were The One called to love him. You are not a fraud, you are as real as it gets, and there is no need to second-guess anything about that.
You, rocking and swaying and feeding and loving and crying and doubting and snuggling in the earning morning hours—you are the walking definition of Mother. You, in the pediatrician's office feeling clueless, and you there, googling rashes at 3am, and you there, in the middle of the grocery store with a screaming toddler feeling self-conscious—you've got this. And I know you are desperate and unsure and hesitant and insecure, but let me breathe this truth straight into your heart—you are truly, wholly, undoubtedly a MOTHER. You have earned the title, so wear it proudly, momma. You might not do everything right, and you will surely make mistakes because you are human, but that does not take away from the fact that you have been called for such a time as this, for these children, for this love, for this purpose, for this holy work, right here, right now.
Do you believe me? Believe me.
And the next time I forget, won’t you please remind me too?
Written by Ashlee Gadd.