I’d like to say a few words about motherhood.
It’s not pretty.
Honestly, it’s not like a Hallmark card or a Mary Cassatt painting. It’s far messier, and it hurts much more than we’re ever told. Not just the birth part (which is a major ouch) but every stage that comes along with motherhood brings its own set of pains.
It’s complicated being a mother.
You love your children, they’re the greatest gift you’ve ever been given (except when they’re in a tantrum or the teen years), but your finest achievement as a mother is letting them go.
How does anyone do motherhood and stay sane?
Just when you start getting good at the job, the kids grow up. It’s Mother Nature’s cruel joke. You’ve got to be flexible when you’re a Mom. The jobs you do keep changing the longer you do them. You give birth, and if that isn’t hard enough, you have to take charge of a little life twenty-four hours a day. Your breasts feed it, your eyes watch it, your touch comforts it, your hands change it. Your body ceases to be your own. And how does your child repay you for being the reason she’s alive? She learns to walk and walks away from you.
And that’s just the beginning.
With every stage of a child’s growth a mother has to change with it. It’s a cruel fact, but it’s true. Once you feel you know what you’re doing and you’re on top of things, your kids grow up to the next level and your job turns into something else. And then, it’s on the job training all over again. Whether we like it or not – tough patutties, we better get used to it. And for those mothers reading this thinking, “I’ll be fine when my kids move on – I’ll do things for myself.” Good luck with that! Good luck remembering who and what you were, and if you are now what you were back then before the stretch marks.
And there’s no such thing as retirement.
My mother is in her 80s and I still call her up and ask her how long leftovers are safe to eat. It’s her job to know these things. Or at least I think she knows them. If she doesn’t, please don’t tell me. And if she’s reading this? Mom, I don’t want to know.
Motherhood is a tough job, so you better man up.
The toughest part of being a mother is remembering where you stop and your child begins. If we’re not careful, that 24-hour vigil we perform when they’re infants creeps into our parenting. If you’re a helicopter mom, you’re in for a very big crash landing. Sooner or later you will face the fact that that beautiful baby – flawless, and the center of the universe, will one day think you are the stupidest person in the world. You don’t know anything, you laugh too loudly in restaurants, your clothes are atrocious, and oh by the way, can you buy him an iPhone? I don’t care how respectful and loving your children are when they’re little, if they don’t pull away, and can’t wait to get away from you, you haven’t done your job. If they go off to college, and they’re tearing it up on campus, having the time of their life while you’re at home in dirty sweats, watching “Mildred Pierce,” eating Hagen Daz, and weeping: Congratulations! You’re one helluva a mother.
And now maybe you’ll understand your own mother better.
Happy Mother’s Day!