I can't talk to you about when to switch your baby to solid foods. I can't hold a conversation with you about the latest kid's movie or toy. I don't shuttle around from school to ballet lessons and play dates. We don't get invited to birthday parties or build sandcastles on the beach on vacation. In fact, you will rarely see me out in public with my daughter at all. But I am a mom.
I know that I won't ever give her advice on boys and friendships, or help with her homework. I won't have to discipline her and determine grounding sentences. And I won't anticipate her going off to college or getting married, which are all common aspects of being a parent.
When I'm around other moms of typical children, I feel just as out of place as the girl who has no children yet. I have about as much to offer as she does: maybe some anecdotal information I heard about a friend's child or my nephew. I have no first-hand experience on the majority of parenthood topics, and that can feel very awkward like I don't really have a child at all.
But I know being a mom is more than that stuff and deep down at the heart of it we're all the same. We all strive to do what is best for our children and to keep them safe and healthy. Though our day-to-day routines and visions of our children's futures may be very different, a mom's love is universal. I know that she knows I am her mom by the way she looks at me. I know she is telling me that she loves me with her ear-to-ear smile. I know that overwhelming, inexplicable feeling of unconditional love that comes with being a mom, and that is what's most important.