Today is Mother’s Day. Some moms were woken up by their children who lovingly prepared a breakfast for them to be served in bed, like a royal woman should be served. Hopefully, if you are a mom and you received this gift, it was edible: the cliche being burnt toast with cereal, given with love and hugs and a hand made card, and Dad standing in the background all smiles and proud with his tutelage.
The truth is, we moms love that scene yet secretly wish breakfast was a bit more edible. It is awesome when the kids are older and they pick you up for brunch!
Breakfast aside, Mom’s Day is a nice thing to celebrate. If mom is giving it a go at being a mom, she has truly had a adventurous ride. From the moment the baby is laid in her arms there is this overwhelming feeling of protection and “keep IT alive!” I personally had no clue as to what to do with my newborn baby, other than the books I read, hands on experience was null.I don’t remember even holding a baby before this beautiful 6 pound 13 ounce girl was placed on my chest. I kept books in her basket which were “how to” books for those first months. I used a book with illustrations to give her her first bath. I had to read where to place my hands and how to bathe her tummy with that cord so…there. I read how to feed her, thanks LULAC. I read how to hold her, how to how to everything those first weeks. I had a c-section and when I came home with her I was sans mother to give advice or rest. From the beginning it was me and her. I believe God knows which kid should come first. This girl certainly was getting my best experimental attempts at keeping her alive.
And I did it. I kept her alive. I kept her well. And I fell in love with her which continues to this day.
I had a second daughter and she reaped some benefits from the fact her mom had just gone through the drill nineteen months earlier. I recall thinking how much I loved the first one and I really wanted a second one. I am blessed to have them both. Same family, same parents but such different souls. Both, however, are of the ‘strong willed’ variety. Now, 30 years later, I can look back at our time together, and with mixed emotions I honestly offer that being a mom was and is hard. There, I said it Mrs. Duggar who showboats having 19 kids and a soft demeanor and a reality TV show.
I work with families and I get it when I have a mom in front of me who is confused, angry, scared and did I say angry? I don’t get it when I meet a mom who is of the shrugging-shoulders tribe. Many many times I have heard in defense of the shruggers, “they are doing the best they can.” No, they are not, and not every one does their best. This is a fallacy in our country today. We need to get real and note that some moms suck at being a mom. Yeah, I am talking to the mom who lets her kids make all their own decisions. Thanks to so many who practice mothering in this way, we have some real issues in our society with our children: Very young girls getting pregnant, so many young people on drugs, perpetrating crimes and hurting themselves and others. Rude little monsters who need sane guidance are too many these days. Mommy is not just a difficult job, it is down right one of the hardest jobs to have, and by the way, there is no clocking out, no retirement fund, no breaks, no advancement. I think ‘doing your best’ would entail learning what to do and like my favorite place to get my hair colored, where the cosmetologists are constantly being schooled on the newest innovations in their field, so should the mom who wants to get it right.
News flash: If mom doesn’t even attempt to teach and grow their children the end result is usually not very good. And, yes, there are exceptions!! And to the amazing exceptions, I am sure you did a better job and are truly doing the best you can! I am one of you!
It is important as a counselor to consult, consult, consult. It is important for mothers to do the same. Consult and find a great group of moms to laugh, share and cry with on a regular basis. Moms need moms. Most moms I know have wept about their inadequacies, their failure in circumstances that required her to make a hard choice then she second guessed it and then she felt like she just ruined her kids life. Oh, and that could be something along the lines of should she let her son play football, or her daughter go to a sleepover with some kids she just doesn’t feel are good mixes for her angel. Not trivial, just life and all the emotion that comes in the mom package.
My ‘how-to’ books showed me how to bathe and care for my newborn, but no book prepared me for the personalities and the clashes of will. Yes, mine included. I was told that I should raise a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6) Lucky for me I also read that could be interpreted as a way to work with your child’s personality. For instance, if I had an artist in my home, I should help them become all they can be, and not push the artist into being an actuary, unless they wanted to do so. I do have two artists, and yes, they are more than that in many ways. It was this fear of sucking at being a mom, that made me want to be a good mom, to not let my kids down.
But, I still did.
What keeps me sane is that I am still learning. It wasn’t an easy transition from mommy to mom/friend, because I am still mommy inside, big time. And, I think with all of my mistakes, the insistence on my part to not give up on my job which has always been in constant change, is what will give me a sense of peace in the end. Mother’s Day celebrates the job of mom. It is our yearly nod to the mom-archetype. Ahem, I think we deserve the moment. And to those of us who did and are trying to get it right, salut!
I think back on my burnt toast and eggs with raisons and my heart and eyes leak with emotion. I miss those little girls, but am now blessed with amazing women who call me mom, but in my heart I will always be their mommy.
I can hope in their hearts as well.