I am fast approaching my 8th Mother’s Day. I literally just counted the days on my fingers and lifted my eyebrows in amazement. It’s hard to believe I’ve been a mother for 8 years! It was in those 8 years, that I’ve learned some hard, and not so hard, truths about motherhood and what it means to me.
Motherhood is the constant care for, and worry of, one’s children. Growing up, my mother always worried about me and for me. She still does. Each time she’d cry for me or express a concern about something that I didn’t think was a big deal, she’d tell me the same thing: wait until you become a Mom… then you will understand. And as much as most of us fight against becoming our Mother, citing the things we’d never do. However, as a Mom, I see a lot of my own Mother come out of me, both in the things I say and what I do. I worry for my children, especially in the current climate of this country. And because my children have some behavioral and developmental challenges, I worry about their ability to become self-sufficient, successful adults. The worry is always there. As a mother, you can’t escape it.
Motherhood is hard! No one wants to tell you how hard it is, because the joy of motherhood far outweighs the struggle. But it is hard nonetheless and that struggle can often exceed the times of success, which make the successes more gratifying. Motherhood consists of waking up every other hour to clean up after, and subsequently care for a sick child, while praying that you do not get sick. Motherhood is getting sick anyway, and still having to take care of your children, including fixing meals, cleaning the house, ensuring homework is done, and even taking the children to school and extracurricular. Motherhood is learning to think outside the box because what you grew up with isn’t exactly working for your children. Motherhood is understanding that just because your children are yours, they do not belong to you. They belong to God and He has chosen you to take care of His creation for His glory. Motherhood is never getting enough sleep ever again. Motherhood is sacrificing your time for your children’s pursuits and welfare. Motherhood is understanding that once that child comes into the world, life as you know it has changed and will never be the same. Motherhood is understanding that your time is no longer yours. Motherhood is knowing that your children aren’t perfect and need to be given guidance, direction, and boundaries so they can grow into respectful adults who can make good choices. Motherhood is not giving into your children each time they have a tantrum, but instead remaining calm when they get angry. Motherhood is strength, even in the face of pure resistance and chaos. Motherhood is understanding that no matter how old your children get, you will still be their mother and they your children.
As a child, it was hard to understand all of what my Mom did for me, the sacrifices that she made. I often complained about being an only child, without considering how much it must’ve hurt my mother that she could no longer bare children after me. I often asked for the things I wanted, without realizing that my mother had to drive into another state every day and be away from me for almost 12 hours so that she could afford those *NSYNC tickets. My mom used to take me everywhere probably because she had to and not necessarily because she wanted to. I’m sure she had to contend with the eye rolls and the sighs at the sight of a little girl at her side at most events that children typically didn’t attend. I will tell you right now that is one way in which my Mom is better than me. I still don’t have the courage or the stamina to take my children every single place I go! It scares me, quite frankly. My mom supported me in most of my hobbies and interests, even though she didn’t understand sports and was probably saddened that I never took an interest in playing music or making clothes. And even though we butt heads a lot, my Mom took on a lot in the time I was growing up. Between trying to deal with her mother who was slowly letting herself go, and caring for her own home and family, my Mom showed resilience, persistence, and strength. I know that the only way I have been able to show the same in the face of adversity with my own family is because of the example she set.
I don’t know if she will ever read this, but I am in debt to my mother. We might have different ideas because things, but I look to her for guidance and wisdom as I navigate through the ever turbulent waters that I call Motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom and to all you out there who have raised or who are raising the tiny humans in your life.