It is Mother’s Day and I want to pay tribute to all the mothers today. When I was newly married and childless, my father told me “you don’t really appreciate your parents until you have your own children”. At the time, I took offence because I have always appreciated my parents. Or so I thought. However, after becoming a mom, I realized that he was right. Now before you tell me he is wrong, think about it for a minute. If you had decent parents, you know he was right.
When you are a child, as far as you are concerned, things ‘just happen’. Your needs are taken care of without you even realizing. So, it is easy to take your parents for granted. So today, I am going to talk about what it means to be a mother. For starters, it is fulfilling, exhausting, joyful and terrifying all at the same time. It is not a job for the faint-of-heart.
As an infant, your mother was most likely your primary caregiver. I have always loved babies, even as a preschooler. However, it wasn’t until I became a mom that I understood just how much work was involved in caring for a baby. Sleep deprivation is synonymous with a new baby but that may be the easy part. Once babies start to move, that is when you have to watch them like a hawk to make sure they don’t hurt themselves and if they are climbers, like my son was, you have to be even more vigilant. You are constantly in a state of hypervigilance. If you don’t hear them, you better go to check on them because I guarantee they are up to no good!
Remember the times when you were ill? Your mother took care of you and made sure you had everything you needed to get better. You probably didn’t realize it at that time, but your mother worried about you from the moment you fell ill until you recovered. You can’t truly understand the breadth of emotions a mother experiences when her child is sick until you experience it. It can be frightening, especially if you don’t know what is wrong.
If your mother worked outside of the home, did you ever stop and think about how much she did? She in fact had two jobs – her paying job and her unpaid job. Being a mom is a 24/7/365 job. There are no days off and no sick days and no pay. This is in addition to her career, with its own demands on her mentally and physically. Have you ever considered how hard it was for her to try to balance parenting and her career? Balance is hard and that is because it really doesn’t exist. Something usually suffers. Did you appreciate her sacrifice or did you give her grief for “not being there”?
Conversely, many moms sacrifice their career dreams and aspirations for their families. If she chose to stay at home to care for you and your siblings, if you have any, did you take her for granted and act as if she was your hired help? Did you secretly think she was “less than” other women who chose to work outside the home?
Were you a rebel in your youth? Did you break the rules and disrespect her? At the time, I am sure you had your reasons and I am sure you thought you were justified. But did you even consider the impact it had on her – the stress you caused, the heartache, the sleepless nights or the tears? Not until you have your own children, will you understand the worry.
So today, on Mother’s Day, if you have never taken the time to look at your mother’s life through her eyes, I encourage you to do it. Recognize how much she loves you and know that she did the best she could for you. Take some time to thank her. She may not be perfect, but neither are you. So, appreciate her for all she did for you and make sure she knows it.
Happy Mother’s Day!