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Like a Mother

Being a mom is tough. It’s the kind of tough that leaves you yelling at the top of your lungs, “Why would you even think of doing that to your sister?!” and “For the love of all that’s holy QUIT arguing!!”

It’s not for the faint of heart.

Today is Mother’s Day, but let’s not fool ourselves. It’s honestly not that different than any other day. Call it what you want, and celebrate however you want (I personally prefer a bottle of champagne to myself, but you do you).

Really though? It’s just another day.

It’s another day that I’ll do the laundry, run the errands, and sweep the floor. I’ll ask about the school project that’s due on Tuesday, force the kids to get along, and wipe down the counter tops that are covered with crumbs.

Don’t get me wrong. Sure, I’ll take the extra hugs and handmade cards and the “I’ll make dinner for you”s, but let’s not fool ourselves. Being a mom is a full-time gig.

There are no days off.

From the minute you were born, sweet children of mine, it’s been a full time job. Sure, there are adult only vacations and those hours I spend at work away from you, but you never leave my thoughts, even then.

I worry about if you have friends to sit with at lunch and if you went to bed at your regular bedtime when we aren’t there to tuck you in. I worry about you getting injured on your friend’s trampoline and if you got your homework done even though we weren’t there to ask about it.

I worry about you when you sleep, when you are at your friend’s birthday party and when you are at school.

I worry about everything “mom.” I worry about the choices I make that affect you from what I buy at the grocery store to what house we live in. There is no real rest as a mom. There is ALWAYS something to worry about.

Being a mom means being on duty. 24-7. No one tells you that when you are pregnant. No one tells you that you won’t ever sleep a sound sleep again, or that you won’t ever know what it’s like to worry only about yourself.

Don’t misunderstand me, though. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I’ve managed classes of 33 nine-year-olds, students who throw desks at me, college finals, unburying my car after a blizzard, and a failed first marriage, but nothing prepared me for motherhood.

Nothing prepared me for the challenge or the rewards. There is no preparation for that.

Read as a many books as you want and join however many “mommy groups” you desire, but nothing prepares you for the toddler with a fever of 107°. Nothing prepares you for the way you feel when you watch your child cry because they are physically or emotionally hurt. Nothing prepares you for the calls you have to make when your teen doesn’t show up at home on time and you fear the worst.

Motherhood is not for the weak.

Motherhood requires the kind of steel nerves that that allow you to clean up vomit while at the same time confirming lesson plans for your substitute.

Those kinds of skills are not learned in self-help books.

So, where do we learn these super human skills if not from self-help books? How do we learn how to become these “mom creatures” who operate on coffee fumes and fairy dust?

Call it a little bit of luck, a dose of “on the job experience”, and our own amazing mom role models.

My mom is the best.

I’m sure yours is too, but doesn’t it sound so cliché to say, “My mom’s the best”?

Instead, I’ll tell you that my mom taught me what it means to be a mom. She taught me how to handle this “mom gig.”

She warmed up hot water bottles when I had middle of the night ear aches. She packed my lunches for away from home basketball games and track meets long after I was old enough to do it myself. She grounded me in reality while still allowing me to dream.

She drove me across the state to a college visit, flew across the country for my wedding, and still sends me baked goods at Christmas. She listens to me monopolize a phone conversation for hours and asks for nothing in return.

She drove me to every orthodontist and doctor appointment I’ve ever had, and drove hours on end to see every sporting event I ever participated in. She washed my laundry, made my favorite meals for my birthdays, and took care of me when I was sick whether it be as a toddler, a teenager, or a young mom home for the holidays with the stomach flu and a new baby.

So, you see, my mom IS the best. She knows me inside out. She didn’t falter for even a second the dreaded day I had to tell her that I was leaving my first marriage, and despite the fact that I keep throwing curve balls at her (like moving to a state with hurricanes), she’s still got my back.

I may not be the best daughter, but I know for a fact that I DO have the best mom. She is the one who taught me how to be a mom. She is the one who taught me that motherhood is hard and painful and stressful and worrisome…and the most rewarding job you’ll ever have.

She is the one who assured me that everything would be fine when I cried over my stepdaughter wanting her dad and her mom over me and when my firstborn wouldn’t stop crying for nights on end. She is the one who taught me that things will always be okay, and when all else fails, you pray.

She is the one who is a model for being strong, yet soft. She is both down-to-earth real, but knows how to encourage dreams. She was and is everything I hope to be.

Fearless. Strong. Devoted. Perfect.

Perfectly raw, perfectly real, and perfect for teaching me what being a mom is all about.

It isn’t about family photo ops and perfect vacations. It isn’t about big houses or storybook endings.

It’s about handling it.

Being a mom is about handling whatever is thrown at you. My mom handled it. She handled four kids who are as different as night and day. She handled my “don’t ripple the waters” personality just as well as she handled my sister’s “rock the boat” teenager personality.

She handled sick kids and field trips and blizzards with no electricity and sporting events and farming life and rattlesnakes and sibling fights and countless other things that I couldn’t even imagine.

She did it all with a cool and calm attitude and the knowledge that whatever she couldn’t handle, God would. She taught me that it’s about waking up, showing up, and dealing with catastrophes the way one would deal with a minor inconvenience.

I look at my children today, and I am SO thankful. I am thankful for their health, for their success, and for their love. I am thankful that I am able to have these small humans who call me mom (and bonus mom). I am thankful that I can celebrate Mother’s Day even if it means running errands and sweeping the floor and changing out loads of laundry. I am thankful that I have the role model I do for being a good mom, and I’m thankful that I can call my own mom and talk for hours on end.

I am the person and the mom I am because I have learned from the best.

I’ve learned that life doesn’t always go the way you planned, but that’s okay… because when life happens, you just handle it.

Like a mother.

Be grateful (for your mom), water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.

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2 Comments

  1. Oh my, you brought tears to my eyes, thank you so much and you are an awesome mom. Love you to the moon and back.

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