“Being a mother is about learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” ~ Linda Wooten
I never knew being a mother would be this hard.
I watched you while growing up, the memories are fond, and you never let on how difficult it was.
It’s said that being a mom is the most challenging and rewarding job, and there’s no question that it is hard work, even if we love our role more than we can put into words.
I love my children to the moon and back, but there are days when I wonder how I will make it to lunch, let alone bedtime.
Sometimes I feel like a failure.
Perhaps we all do at certain times, but as a woman who now has her own family, I honestly don’t know how you did it. It’s a mystery how you were able to keep life going, not just as a mother, but as a single mom. Yet, you still had time to stop and enjoy the small moments that we shared.
At times I feel pulled between the need for being on time and crawling into bed with my youngest so I can snuggle with her for a few more minutes before going our separate ways for the day. There is a battle I wage daily between doing enough to keep life moving, and the desire to freeze time so I can memorize the way my eldest rests with her head on my lap, or how the crazy blonde hair of my youngest smells.
I know that it’s my job to keep going, to raise them to be amazing women, but there is a selfish side of me that wants them to stay like this forever. I want them to stay small enough to fit into my embrace and young enough so that their biggest worry is if I’m going to make something for dinner that they’ll enjoy.
It’s hard to raise children. It seems that no one really tells us that part or how crazy you’ll feel while doing it. I’d like to think on most days I’m patient and pragmatic about all of this, but there are nights I start crying when my youngest asks for something—again. Those nights when I’ve put her to bed, after having given numerous hugs and kisses and tell her that my other job is waiting, when I break down in tears saying that momma is doing the best she can but has to go to work, I’m trying to do this all by myself—and I’m sorry.
It’s those moments that rip my heart out and I pray I’m doing as good a job as I can—as good a job as you did.
The ironic thing about being a mother is that we can read all the books we want, all the blogs about being a new-age, spiritually-conscious momma and, at the end of the day, we won’t know how to be a parent until we are in that role.
There isn’t any true way to prepare for motherhood I suppose, other than what we have experienced with our own mothers. So today, I am especially grateful that I had a mother like you.
It’s not about perfect.
You showed me how to be open with my children, how to seize the moments that they’ll remember forever, and that there isn’t anything a hug and a kiss can’t fix.
As I grow up right alongside my children my only wish, like yours, is that they know how much they are loved.
I do yell sometimes, I lose it in a sobbing fit of tears—but I also throw dance parties in the kitchen and chase them around through the rolling waves of the sea.
Maybe being a mother isn’t really about what we do right, but those moments we just chose to “be” with our children. Life can hold such dizzying craziness when you share it with two smaller, and somehow craftier, versions of yourself.
I know now that I won’t get it right all the time. I won’t always make sure that their socks match before leaving for school, and I may not always serve leafy green vegetables at mealtimes, but I will always love them like no one else can.
No matter how hard the day is, or how difficult it is to keep a household going, the love part always comes easily. The laughter and cuddling is effortless. I’m learning that’s what really matters. I can only hope it will be those times, and not the ones where I am upset because someone decided to paint the wall with toothpaste, that they’ll remember the most as they grow older.
Even if they do remember me crying and breaking down they’ll have learned and know that none of us need to be a perfect parent in order to be a good one.
So Mom, I don’t really know how you did it and make it look so effortless, but I can only hope that when my girls are grown with families of their own, if that is what they choose, then they will have learned how not to be flawless—but real.
Even when real means messy.
As I come to appreciate the small moments more, I realize I have thousands of memories from growing up and the best ones were always made right by your side.
I hope one day my children will feel the same because, while this mothering thing is hard, it’s those moments that truly make it all worthwhile.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Author: Kate Rose
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Lieselle Davidson