With Mother’s Day around the corner, I decided to put pen to paper to write about the joys of motherhood. I got all comfortable; even got out some peppermint tea [I write my best stuff when I have my peppermint tea or cake…don’t judge me]. I knew what I wanted to write. I had all the words bouncing around in my mind, ready to jump onto the paper. I was primed to write about the delights of having kids, how easy it was to be a mother and why being a mother was the most fulfilling part of my life… Somehow, the ink refused to touch the paper. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my little princesses; they do give me moments of joy, pride and laughter. My kids constantly amaze me with their sarcastic sense of humor and their ability to learn and grow into their own versions of mini-womanhood. But that’s just part of the day! With a full twenty-four hours to consider, clearly something else is occurring outside those rainbow-covered, fairytale-esque hours.
Too many persons ignore the fact that parenting is very difficult. Yes, on a day like Mother’s Day we try to overlook how sucky it can be. But the reality of motherhood is not all perfumes, flowers and pearls. Having children—whether biologically, through adoption or association—is a gift and responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Like most things in life, a tremendous amount of work is needed to make motherhood look pretty and effortless. It involves a plethora of personalities and emotions that only a mother figure could organize and clean up afterward. So now that we have opened the blinds to Motherhood, we can now view it with unbiased eyes. Here are a few of the myriad things that I have learned while being a mother…
I am not perfect, and I will never be. You know the mom you see on tv and social media… always dressed perfectly… with perfect hair… and perfect kids… I am not that chick! I remember days where I would have to rely on project management skills and proactive planning just to survive what would appear like an average week for some people—making sure that my kids finished their school projects, studied for exams, did their homework, doctor’s appointments, got fed, were clean, felt some level of love and affection all while attending all of those “You have to be there Mommy!” life events [which occur more often than you would think]. There was no such thing as balance and at many times I was far from perfect. Some days I got it done. Other days I gave up and cried while hoping that tomorrow would be better than yesterday.
You have to let them see you cry and climb. As parents, we try our best to shield our children from the outside world. We often go into ‘mamma bear’ mode to ensure they grow up unharmed and free. Unfortunately, we sometimes stay in this posture for too long, which results in our kids becoming naive and unprepared to face what is out there. I am guilty of doing this. I have tried my best (sometimes borderline lying about events and individuals) to make sure that my babies don’t get worried or feel hurt. This, however, can backfire—and has backfired—as children are left without an understanding of the potential threats surrounding them. They become a little too free in their way of thinking, with the consequence of them running directly into danger. As such, I have concluded that for me to fully protect and prepare my kids, they need to see when I get upset and when I cry. They must see the work behind the glory and be aware of the failures, just as much as the successes. By giving them a true view into what it is to be a woman, a mother, a wife, a career woman and a leader, they get to see the good with the bad. They will know that things are not always easy and that there will be obstacles/challenges along the way. And hopefully, they see an example of a mother and woman who perseveres, no matter the fall or impediment, and is always willing to wipe her tears and get right back up to start climbing again.
Kids have no respect for your budget or the calendar. Each child—every one of them—has done this to me. Sometimes they even team up and do it together. I believe they have supernatural powers where they can see into my bank accounts and my work calendars and pick the most inopportune times to need more of me than I am able to give. This includes getting sick, requiring doctor visits or medicine, and, of course, those “Nurse me Mommy!” days when there is just no time to be in two places at once. We have had the late night hospital runs where a child’s asthma decided it was time to act the fool. Now years later, I can laugh at my youngest who used her supernatural powers to get sick after I had left her all-healthy at home with the babysitter, so I could go out for a rare date minute. I rushed home and spent the rest of that night and early morning in an ER room covered in the puke my daughter showered upon me while being nebulized. My date, while empathetic, couldn’t keep himself from laughing the entire time… told you my kids are classics.
Quality over Quantity. I have been a mom for 14 plus years. I am no mathematician, but I think it is safe to say that I have had or attended or been involved in over 100 Christmas mornings, birthdays, sport days, sport practices, school pageants, ballets, soccer games, band concerts, graduations, birthday parties, first days of school, family vacations and numerous other kid’s events. This is a continuously growing list as they persist in participating in and trying new stuff. At the end of the day, do you know what my kids remember? No, it is not any of the Christmas or birthday presents. Nor the hours spent at the various school events or meetings. Not even the cute outfits or gadgets… What they remember most of all is me ordering or taking home some fast food for dinner, which we ate while binging on Barbie movies [singing and dancing to each song…off tune]. Yup, that’s it. This is what my kids treasure. They cherish the unplanned, messy home, unrestrained play time. The times where I left the work in the office, the laundry in the washing machine and just played with them. Spending quality time with your kids, where it is just you and them doing the things they are interested in, will always be more important in the end [I think its time we made our own Barbie-like movie…just saying].
They are going to make you cry. Where some people may think that I have mastered the sarcastic screw face/side eye/cold glance, others who know me better know that I am a ball of emotions. Therefore, I am very protective of my emotional energy, as I can be very easily triggered to tears [I have gotten a lot better as I’ve gotten older, where my tears are more reserved]. Nonetheless, these little humans—and it’s not even limited to the two that came out of my body, my stepdaughter has this gift too—demonstrate the ability to lift me and drop me within seconds without even batting their long eyelashes. It is not their intent…at least I don’t think it is [well, I hope it isn’t, but it can happen]. As their mom, they expect me to have supernatural powers and abilities. They assume that I can do all things and sometimes I can’t. That’s when the mini-human in them acts up and within seconds they can show a cold side. Note, my kids are not rude, and they love life too much to verbally express their discontent. They are not crazy…they know their mother may be cute, but at no time is she a fool. What they do express the disappointment and that is where I get hurt. This hurt is one that I choose to accept knowing that it makes no sense whatsoever. As the adult, I know that I have done my best, and when I have to say no or discipline them, that it is what it is. But instead of just being a grown-up about it, I hold on to the emotion a little too long and the tears flow.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL THE MOTHERS, STEPMOTHERS, GODMOTHERS AND WOMEN WHO HAVE CHOSEN THE JOURNEY OF MOTHERHOOD