Mothergood Feature: Cullen Bushnell Sporleder

I am the wife of a Marine and a mother of two. 

I believe that in becoming a mother, I have become more myself.

Being a mother is something I longed for my entire life. But, just because I dreamed of becoming a mom doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Nevertheless, I am the most fulfilled when one of my babies is in my arms.

As a mother, when I give my energy, compassion, patience, and love, it is returned to me tenfold.

One moment I am cleaning soggy cereal off a high chair tray, and the next I am receiving a surprise hug around both legs.  I may have a restless night, but I’m greeted in the morning with a perfectly puckered-lip kiss. 

Family life is a foretaste of heaven. When I see my daughter run to kiss her daddy upon his return from work and his beaming smile full of pride for our little girl, I experience a taste of heaven.

Motherhood calls you to be more than just an individual, it invites you into being a part of something greater than yourself. It is about embracing the core of what it means to be a woman: to create, care for, nurture, captivate, and beautify.

What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood (especially to military spouses)?

There is no perfect timing. If I have learned anything from my upbringing in and marriage to military life, it is that life can change in an instant. Plans can and will be put on hold or taken in a completely new direction.

Stay open to the unknown. Stay open to a life of adventure. What ends up happening, in my experience, is far better than anything I could have imagined. The birth of my children, albeit only 16.5 months apart, has been perfect for us. I couldn’t imagine my daughter growing any older without her baby brother to dote on and kiss every five minutes. 

Don’t wait to get involved in the community. After I had my first child, I found myself in new surroundings and made excuses to wait to get involved (i.e. my baby is still getting into a sleep schedule, I don’t know a soul, we will only live here six months, it’s too hot, etc.).

Once I decided to get involved, I experienced a strong sense of belonging, happiness, and fulfillment in community. It doesn’t matter how long you’ll be somewhere or how inexperienced you are—there is almost always someone in the same boat or has walked in your shoes.

As women, we need community. It refreshes the soul. Do yourself a favor and find your mom tribe. 

How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?

Motherhood has taken me on a journey of re-self discovery. Before becoming pregnant, I worked as a marketing account manager. My calendar was filled with back to back commitments. After having a child, I was forced to reprioritize. While I was happy to move on from many of my commitments, there were others that were more difficult to let go of.

 As an ESFJ, I experienced a time of “grieving” for my old life. In the weeks following my postpartum recovery, I attempted to revive that life with a baby in tow.  Other weeks I took it to the opposite extreme and didn’t feel like leaving the house (Netflix and I were bffs). 

I had to find a healthy balance. I ended up finding a group of women that met weekly for a Bible study, which helped to keep me accountable on the weeks I didn’t feel like leaving the couch. Another positive change was making mom friends. Getting together and sharing with women that were a step ahead of me, a step behind me, and in the same stage of parenting helped me feel normal, understood, encouraged, and inspired.

I learned to embrace the gift of motherhood without losing myself in it. I started to become more patient with myself by making gradual changes in the direction I wanted to head in relation to work, my social life, and even fitness. I began to focus on what I was doing right instead of feeling guilt over what I believed I was doing wrong. I began to read more and spend less time on my phone looking at what other moms were doing. And, I leaned on people I trusted and could be real with. 

 

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