Saturday, May 10, 2014

Confessions of a Mother

This Sunday, being Mother’s Day, got me thinking about motherhood. Being an ideal mother is a confusing concept for me to wrap my mind around. Living in a society that bombards us with images of what a perfect mother is can be a bit overwhelming.

I remember starting out on this road as a wife and mother and really having no clue what I was doing. (Still don’t have a clue)Yes, I had my mother as an example, but her life experiences were so different from mine, that I really had to figure out how to navigate motherhood on my own, on my terms.

I know women who genuinely love everything about being a young mom. Being a mom brings them all of the fulfillment that they need. You know these women too. They are the mommy blogger, cute kids, immaculate homes, types. I am in awe as I watch them. I do believe what they portray is real because I personally know a few. Man, how I wish I was this way. But the truth is, I am just not wired like that. Yes, I do try, but I am a bit overwhelmed at times by my endless lists and I do forget things. Having four busy kids I have to prioritize so a lot has to fall by the wayside. And sometimes as I look at my day, I feel more depressed than fulfilled.

I am the mom that sends her daughter to school having forgotten to brush her hair. I am the mom that sends lunch money because it’s easier than packing a sack lunch everyday. I am the mom that actually lets their kids do their own science project. I know, gasp!

Being a young mother for me was exhausting. You don’t see this in motherhood magazines. My two oldest were 12 months apart. Within a 6-year time frame I had 4 kids. I remember rocking a cranky baby at two in the afternoon, and wanting nothing more than to sleep, let alone find time to brush my teeth and get out of my yoga pants. There were times when I felt that if I didn't spend 15 minutes alone, I would burst.

Now that my oldest is starting High School and my other three are close on his heals, I find that I am still exhausted, just more emotionally than physically. Though these four can bathe, clothe, feed themselves, they need me in a way that is so much more than when they were little. They need me to be present at ALL times. They need me to listen even when they are not speaking. This scares me to death. I can’t mess this up.

So, what is an ideal mother… who is this perfect person that I am supposed to be? I really don’t know, but I have come up with a few things that matter most to me. TO ME are the key words, because it really is different for everyone because we as mothers are different and every child is so unique and needs different things.

If I could talk to my young self fifteen years ago this is what I would tell her.

It doesn’t matter if the dishes don’t get washed, or you don’t have up to date family portraits, and your dinners burn from time to time. It doesn’t matter if your kids are the smartest or the most talented or even the most well behaved… insert gasp here.

What matters is who matters. Don’t waist energy on trying to impress anyone. Just love those that you are blessed to have in your home. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Show it in everything you do, in words and actions. Give your heart, all of it-withholding nothing, even if it is scary. There is nothing more vulnerable than being a mother. Your heart is so exposed, so open. BUT, there is no calling on earth as influential as the role of mother. There is nothing else that will stretch you and push you to your full potential as being a mother. There is nothing that will feed your soul as mothering a child.

As I have been working on my "Character Arc" project this concept of motherhood keeps coming to mind because my arc would not be complete without this role. I could never live up to my full potential without adding mother to my list of who I am.

So, on this eve of the day where my family celebrates me J, I am filled with gratitude for these, sometimes joyous, sometime difficult, fifteen years. I wouldn’t trade it for all of the accolades this world has to offer.

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