A mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart – a heart so large that everybody’s grief and everybody’s joy found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation – Mark Twain
Since Mother’s Day is this weekend, I’ve been doing some reflecting on mothers. Tomorrow will be my 6th Mother’s Day. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced this day is not to honor me. I was reading all of these beautiful quotes about moms and motherhood, and NOT ONE of them could apply to me. I think it’s more to honor someone like my own mother.
My mother was and still is a true “mom’s mom.” She was able to stay home with my brother and I and she did all the quintessential “mom” things. But she did so much more. I remember when my brother was in kindergarten or 1st grade and she made cookies for the entire grade not just his class. These were not any homemade cookies. They were edible works of art. She hand made sugar cookies, rolled and cut them out into whatever the seasonal shape was. Then she painted – not iced – but painted each one. There were well over 100. We never took anything to school that was not homemade. She was always the class room mother and other classes would be jealous of our Christmas, Valentine, etc. parities. At Easter she would make these sugar, iced, Fabrege’-type eggs. She was always the girl-scout troop leader and we did the coolest things, and earned all the badges. When we moved from Texas to Arkansas I went to Girls Scouts when my mom was not the troop leader. It was so inferior that I quit after that year. She seemed impervious to the large amounts of sleep we made her miss. We had friends in the house constantly and it seemed she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
So I compare myself to her and the standards I’ve set for myself and I’ve come to the conclusion that Mother’s Day just isn’t to honor me. After all, here I sit writing a blog when I’ve no doubt there’s something motherly and productive I could/should do.
The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. – Oliver Wendell HolmesHow I define myself
Being a mom is just one of the words I would use to define myself. Now that I’m a mom, Anne just didn’t cease to exist anymore. I’ve never been one to hang my entire identity on the title of Mother or any other for that matter.
I often see moms use their “mom-ness” as an email address, username or some sort of cyberspace identifier. I would never consider having email@example.com for an email address. Tonysmom as a username is something I would never do. This is mostly because of the personal identity issue, but for privacy as well. As if I want all of the internet creeps to know my personal business.
I’ve never thought having a child suddenly made my husband and me a family. I’m pretty sure we were a family before that.
Things I Could Never Do/Shortfalls
While having my son I took as many drugs as they would give me and then cried for more afterward. I let him sleep in the nursery his first night too. My reasoning: I will be wondering where he is and if he’s breathing every night for the rest of my life. I decided to let the hospital staff have that duty while I was hopped up on whatever drugs they gave me.
I’ve relished every change in his life and never longed for the stage that preceded. I like to sleep a reasonable amount at night. I’m grumpy and resentful when I don’t get it. When sleeping through the night was achieved I never longed for the quite moments rocking a baby in the dark.
I was all too happy to throw away the burp cloths and bottles. I believe I did a song and dance when I got rid of the diapers. I registered him for kindergarten the other day and was ecstatic. Husband was somewhat nostalgic and melancholy, but not me.
As a mom I never considered co-sleeping with my baby. I need to sleep. That won’t happen with a 10 pound bundle of joy in the bed. I never even considered breast feeding until he was two. Way to go for you altruistic souls who do! I didn’t use cloth diapers or organic cotton bedding. I didn’t teach him sign language because I felt like a fool doing the sign for milk. I thought it was strangely vulgar. I know! I know! In my house there is no 5 second rule. I you drop it on the floor and can get to it before on the dogs eats it- you deserve it.
We don’t listen to wholesome children’s music in the car. I don’t like it mainly and secondly, I’m always listening to Jazzercise music.
I don't scrapbook. Sure we have no fewer than 9000 photos of our little darling. I hope to at least have them in an album by the time he graduates... college. The thought of having to make a perfectly cropped and themed tome dedicated our family makes me want to tie my legs in a knot. Now I would love to own a book like this - actually, no, I wouldn't. So if you're going to invite me to a scrapbook party, don't waste your acid free card stock on me. We don't even own a video camera. Now I realize that is a law violation in some areas. Don't call CPS on me. The suckers are expensive so we just do 30 second stipits with the digital camera. After all, who wants to relive the entire preschool basketball game?
Too many days I wish I had a “do over” – a mothering mulligan, if you will. I know many times I give him a fish when I should teach him how to fish. Sometimes I put him to bed without a story because I simply don’t have 5 more minutes to give. Right now, I’m appalled at the number of McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys he has. He wears shoes with Velcro because it’s easy and just yesterday I threw away the sippy cups. They’re probably not too far down in the trash should I need to retrieve them…
The other day my mother-in-law asked something about home-schooling him. After choking on whatever I was drinking, I promptly answered, “HELL NO!” Me home schooling conjures images of a 14 year old at my kitchen table swearing he’ll start to learn to read tomorrow. His mother agrees and swears that tomorrow they will finally get to that pesky school work.
He’s done all the sports and lessons that are called for, but sometimes with a less and enthusiastic parent. I’ll admit it, I don’t like to watch people under 5 years of age playing soccer. It’s cute for about 10 minutes. I don’t like soccer even when professionals play it.
Aren’t we all just imperfect works in progress? Maybe we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have. So here’s to all the mom’s out there – the strict the lenient, the granola, the processed, the stay at home, the working, the homemade, the store bought, the moms of many, the moms of few and the glorious combinations in between!
God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers." -Jewish proverb