No thing in life has ever made my heart beat so proud, so fierce, so gentle, so unequivocally bursting with the highest and lowest of all emotions as being a mother does.
It has made me so many things. I have been the young teenage mother, naive and unsuspecting. The energetic working mom, balancing a career while serving growing little hearts at home.
I have been the expecting mother, dancing over a positive pregnancy test, and the would-be mother staring in disbelief at an ultrasound screen that has gone silent. I have been the adoptive mother, gathering the seeming endless trail of papers required to welcome a lonely heart Home, and I have been the foster mom who had to say goodbye with a desperate prayer for a loving mother to come.
I have been the woman struggling with infertility and avoiding going out in public for the pain of seeing maternity clothes and new babies. I have been the mother of a perfect natural delivery and of an unplanned and frightening c-section.
I’ve been the mother pleading for a miracle over a quiet hospital bed, and the mother staring down a deep gash in the earth where my child would be buried.
I’ve been the homeschooling mom, and the mom that packs lunches before the early morning school bus. The mom who cheers and waves and beams with pride, and the mom who aches over the heart of a wayward child. I have been the mama supported by a loving husband, and the single mom trying to hold it all together through long deployments.
I have been the mother who delights in adventuring and the thrill of trying new things, and the mother who grieves over being too ill to make it out of bed.
I have been enough to know that there is no “right way” to mother, and that we are all just doing the best we know how, and that the one thread that runs common among all mothers and would-be, have-been, and almost-mothers is the unbreakable thread that formed when we realized we could or would or had to belong to something smaller but greater than ourselves. Something that held the power to provide us with our greatest, most intense moments of joy and fulfillment, and also the lowest depths of grief and insecurity.
If you are a mother, have a mother, know a mother, want to be a mother? That’s something. That is one ridiculously terrifying and exuberantly thrilling job description that no one really lets you in on until you’re in the thick of it. And this world needs you and your desperate love and reckless hope and selfless ambition to keep the heartbeats of all of us thrumming to find our places and our purpose in this crazy life.
I leave you with this…
We all have come across people in life that tend to make us feel better about ourselves and how we are doing. It’s human, it’s our nature to compare. So imma give you a free “feel pretty super good about yourself” right now, or at least next time you’re wondering if you’re the only mom who does these things you will know you’re not alone.
I have been at this mothering thing for 15 years and 11 months. I have most definitely done one and all of the following, some of them on more than one occasion:
1. I have *actually* pulled over and made a kid get out and walk the rest of the way home.
2. I have let (begged?) my children to stay home from school because I was too exhausted to drop them off and pick them up.
3. I have mistaken one of their adorable drawings of a person or a flower for something completely unrelated and crushed their little spirits.
4. I have let my children have cereal for dinner and dessert for breakfast.
5. I have pretended to make a call and given them the “oh sorry honey, they didn’t answer,” when I couldn’t fathom adding one more friend or activity to our day.
6. I’ve been distracted when I was supposed to be watching their super-coolest thing and missed it and told them how amazing and incredible they were anyway.
7. I have gone to bed before my children and told them to remember to tuck in the little one and then turn out the lights.
8. I have forgotten it was picture day at school and been reminded by a portrait of haphazard hair and a tacky two-years-outgrown T-shirt with an obnoxious graphic on the front.
9. I have spent endless time on meal plans and grocery shopping and stocking up on all the good stuff and then been so bone-weary I have ordered delivery or let them eat whatever they felt like anyway.
10. I’ve forgotten to replace pearly baby teeth with shiny quarters and blamed it on them for putting it too far under their pillows.
11. I’ve been late getting them places because I can’t decide on what to wear, and then let everyone assume we were late because of the kids.
12. I have secretly wished that for Mother’s Day I could have a small break from being a mom.
There you have it. Wherever you are in your motherhood, hopefully that gives you a reason or two to feel better about your tireless efforts to safely and effectively grow your little people into productive, well-adjusted adults with very little scar tissue. Just remember, there is no one-size-fits-all-mothering, so keep doing the best you can with what you know. Warrior on mamas!
My kids; here and in Heaven, biological and not, have made me so much of who I am, and I am all the better for it. They challenge me, inspire me, forgive me, empower me, love and accept me in ways I never could have imagined, and I truly am the luckiest girl in the whole wide world for getting to be their mom.