So what’s a mom? A woman who has a baby or child? Yes. Or adopts or fosters one? Yes. Or becomes a nurturing mother figure to someone? Yes again.
Being a mom is work. It is a privilege, a gift, yes, but it is work. I fall into bed each night as though someone has just yelled “TIMBER!” and with an echoing thud my body crashes into the mattress. I’m spent. Being a parent isn’t for wimps. (I’m a wimp when it comes to cold temperatures and scary animals like snakes, lions, tigers and bears, rats, tarantulas and sharks, but those of us who choose parenthood have a certain bravery that even lion tamers can’t match.)
I’m having a great Mothers’ Day. I’m alone at home, listening to wind chimes and birds’ chirps. I’m riding a creative tidal wave and I’ve already made almost a dozen sketches of art ideas and costumes to create. I have so many ideas ricocheting around in my head that I don’t even finish one sketch before starting another—I don’t want them to disappear before I can get my ideas out!
Having a little time on my own today is terrific. For me, Mothers’ Day isn’t about getting jewelry or candy. I got cards from my kiddos, which they created in school and are touching and adorable. Here’s the message inside one of the cards. It’s so cute:
I don’t know if I’ve made pumpkin pie more than once or twice. (And by “made” I mean this: tossing a frozen one from the store into an oven and returning 45 minutes later to retrieve it.) And 91 pounds? At 5’7”? Not so much. But otherwise it’s a good summary of my life and of me.
A hug and a few sweet words are really all I need. Hubby gave me a flamingo lawn ornament—he knows about my love of flamingos, of course. All I wanted for today was this: not to have to do much of anything. Yes, I’ve made breakfast for the kids. It hasn’t been a day off from all chores. But that’s okay. They went out and I’m having a little quiet time for this brain to dream up fab art ideas. It also feels good to be appreciated today. Kids sometimes forget that we moms are not here solely to scrub toilets, scrape cheese off the floor, wash a million dishes, police homework time, referee the countless arguments the kids have, and worry about whether we’re saying “yes” and “no” in the right proportions. Sigh. So yes, on this day, it feels great to be appreciated.
Do you know the comic strip Baby Blues? It’s hilarious. I love how the creators Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott capture parenthood so completely in just a few sentences.
What’s a mom? There’s no one answer. Some are big, some small. Some are loud--some quiet. I believe most of us are not Stepford Wives (and for me, that’s not the goal). Although some moms really do seem to have it all together. They’re completely organized, impeccably dressed, and never late. But most of us are a lot more human than that. And that’s okay. We can be great moms and be imperfect. In fact, I like showing my kids that grownups aren’t perfect and that the kids shouldn’t pressure themselves to be, either. (I don’t think there’s any doubt in their mind about my being human. The leaning tower of dishes next to the sink is one tip-off.) Sometimes we hula hoop instead of doing the dishes right away. We goof around a lot. Sometimes I yell too much and overreact and I apologize later. I’m human, and they love me that way.
I’ll share a funny story about my son. This epitomizes my life. I have a great life, so I’m not really complaining—just sharing an anecdote that speaks volumes about motherhood. One night, a few years ago, my son came and found me. I was reading in bed, my nightly treat right before I nod off. He asked me for a drink of water. I looked at him and said, “I am in bed, after racing around for fifteen hours. Dad is still up and about. You can’t ask him for water?” To which my son replied, “Well, I didn’t want to bother Daddy.” Welcome to motherhood. It’s exhausting. It’s messy. It’s imperfect. I’m forgetful. But I try hard, and they see that. I’m very lucky.
Happy Mothers’ Day.