Mothering is likely the best 'thing' I have ever done, and ,at the same time, one of the most difficult. Though, honestly, I’m not completely sure ‘done’ is the right word here, because really, parenting is just one long string of reactions and counter-actions, and it doesn't ever really finish, as any parent can attest. There is no timeframe into which mothering fits; it is not a 9 - 5 sort of job.
Before you have kids of your own, before you are wholly responsible for another living being (or two), it is hard to believe just how complicated parenting can be. It is hard to believe what it feels like to be a mom, to be THAT person to another little human, to be the one they come to with owies, or with dreams, or with their every treasure. It is hard to imagine how important another person can be, to think of them as soon as your eyes are open, and the last thought right before you fall to sleep. People will tell you all of this before you have kids, but it is not something that rings true until you have children of your own. Being a mom is an amazing gift.
Being a mom means wearing a lot of different hats, each of which deserves applause on this very special day. So here’s to you, my fellow moms! You are amazing!
M - is for every single moment you spend WITH your kids, and ABOUT your kids. You think about them even when they are not with you, you show off their pics on Facebook and on your phone, and you talk (perhaps incessantly) about them and their latest antics/efforts/comments/ailments. You are proud of what they accomplish, and openly admire their skill when they create. Your moments become more about them than about you, and it’s a fair trade.
M is also for maintaining the house. Now, in this day of social distancing, we are doing more cooking, cleaning, and house maintenance than ever before.
O - is for others. Without losing sight of yourself, you put others’ needs ahead of your own. Your focus on their welfare and betterment is important to you. Even the little things like who gets to use the last two squares of toilet paper in the store bathroom (them, and it’s okay because you have a tissue that is mostly clean in your bag, and you’ve already mastered the sit-but-don’t-touch-anything skill) or the geometry homework help you give instead of sitting down and reading your own book; it’s about others. Besides, you know you’ll get your own time after bedtime. Remember: Don't be a martyr; making time for yourself is not being selfish. Just because we do all of these things for our families does not mean we don't need to recharge.
T - is for taking care. Care of others, sure, but also taking care with your words, your gestures and your interactions with your family. You discover that words are important, and that your tone can mean everything. You tend to their food needs with nutritious meals and snacks. You tend to their emotional needs with hugs and kisses and affirmation. You tend to their mental needs with stimulating games, conversations and interactions. You tend to their physical needs with creative ball drills, movement games, biking races, and long family walks. You nurture, you take care, and you are there when they need you.
H - is for hugs and the myriad of other ways you give your kids the physical interactions that let them know how much they mean to you. Be it a kiss on an owie or a brush of a hand over their head, every little touch counts and adds up to equal the physical contact that every child craves. Hugging your kids – especially those that really crave physical touch – gives them nonverbal affirmation of how much you love them. Kids that know that their parents love them without reservation tend to be well-adjusted and socially adept themselves. So not only are you giving your kids the love that they deserve, you are helping to rear an emotionally- and socially-well-adjusted future adult who will be a contributing member of society (and, in turn, will give back, like he sees you doing, because he learns from your every action).
E - is for energy that you give to your kids from the moment you get up (which is often well before they even start the pre-wake-up twitches) until their eyelids finally droop shut (and then you have your Me-time to get things done). You fuel yourself to keep up with them and help motivate them toward what they want to accomplish and see each day. Giving them your energy to create, to step out, to try something new because they know you will be there for them if need be. Stepping back and letting them be the ones doing, but there for support when they turn around the check. Your quiet and unfailing support and energy are the extra ounce of motivation that can push them to try that one last thing that is just what they need to reach their goal.
E is also for education, as we now have stepped in to the eLearning trade, helping our kids with their endless stream of online assignments for one class or another. The day of 'teaching' for the kids might come from the teachers, but we are the ones at home helping to make it happen. We are the ones who are holding the camera for the video for French class (cooking banana pudding, of course), or proof-reading the novella, or giving feedback on the presentation. We are the hands-on teachers' aide and we do this while balancing all of the other tasks we have to do during the day as well. This is the time when our education-is-so-important mantra will be tested; do we lose our patience with the umpteenth interruption to our teleworking? No. Cue inward sigh and turn smiling to your child, happy to help.
R - is for recipe: every action, every interaction comes together for an amazing and individual recipe that you are creating for each one of your kids, being a mother. We all have our own special ingredients that we put in, so it is unique to you and your child. Our kids know that their mom’s recipe is the best, and appreciate it. They may not tell you every day, but they know.
Enjoy your day, the day dedicated to moms and take a few minutes to appreciate what an amazing, unique and clever mom you are. Your family is lucky to have you.
Happy Mother’s Day!