I got an email from our local zoo about a drawing for a sizable gift certificate to a department store in honor of Mother's Day. All you have to do to enter the random drawing is write a short essay on why moms rule. I asked my 4 year-old how he would answer this query. His reply, "Moms rule because sometimes they stop the dads from putting kids in timeout." Hmmm, not quite the sweet, flowery, Hallmark-card answer I was hoping for, but there you have it that's why moms rule, according to my elder son.
As Mother's Day nears, I have been reflecting on my experience with motherhood. It is everything I thought it would be and nothing I thought it would be all in the very same second. Just as soon as I think I've got it mastered my Darling Boys throw me a curve ball, and I realize I don't have a clue.
I Wish I Had Known
I wish I had known how much to appreciate a quiet house or an uninterrupted shower or night's rest before my Darling Boys were born. I knew it would be exhausting, frustrating, maddening, magical, amazing and hilarious, but I didn't know how deeply and how often I would feel these emotions. I didn't know how little, helpless and scared I would feel when I had a sick boy with a fever that wouldn't budge at 3 in the morning. I didn't know how the deep, genuine, rolling on the floor laughter shared by two brothers could bring me to my knees in a prayer of thankfulness.
I didn't know how fine a line it is between a loving, good, holding-it-together mom and a loving, good, about-to-lose-it mom. I've walked that thin line many times now, and I'll continue walking the line for years to come. They say kids bring out the best in a person. I agree with that statement, but I also think kids bring out the worst in a person.
I have survived this gig, so far. I have survived because of my girlfriends who are themselves mothers in the trenches, my mom who has been there and raised kids very similar to my own and my husband who abidingly gets up with the boys at night, changes diapers on airplanes and not-so-clean public bathrooms, cleans up puke, pee and poop and lets me be alone more than his fair share of the time. If I was alone in this role of motherhood, I would be failing miserably. This much I know is true.
There are days I adore being a mother and days I loathe being a mother, but I always completely, whole-heartedly, without question love my kids. They are my world. By saying this, I don't mean that I have nothing else going on during my day or week; no other goals, deadlines or aspirations in my life; no coffee dates, dinner dates or weekend getaways planned. I most certainly do. The other things in my life are what keep me sane as a mom.
What I Know Now
Interestingly, being a mother has opened new doors, created new opportunities and tapped into new creative rivers for me. I don't think I would have gotten to this point without becoming a mom first. This may sound strange, but motherhood has heightened my senses; it has honed my resourcefulness; it has unleashed my imagination.
Don't get me wrong though. I've had to let go of a lot of my imagined world of motherhood. Some of my precious things have broken, the dining room rug is eternally dirty with bits of food from two messy eaters, toys are everywhere without regard to my neatly arranged, all-toys-assigned-to-a-specific-location system, my kids are not perfect, they rarely listen to me the first time I say anything and despite my pre-mom adamant rant my Darling Boys get in bed with us at some wee hour every single night.
So, what makes the bad, the ugly and the messy less noticeable to this mom? It's listening to my Darling Boys hatch out a whole story line based on a book we've just read or a DVD they've just watched and play it; it's watching the elation displayed on my son's face after making his first goal during a soccer game or catching his first baseball; it's seeing the wonder in my children's eyes as they watch giant machinery cut down a tree or dig a hole; it's watching my boys' reaction to their first taste of chocolate; and it's feeling the strong hold their whole bodies have on me when they run to greet me as I arrive home.
Those are the magical parts of the motherhood, and why I feel so grateful to be experiencing these things as a mom. Anyone can observe these things happen, but only a mom can feel them and understand the pure joy of it all. What I didn't know is that despite all the ugly parts, motherhood really is better than I ever imagined. Over and out...
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