My second official Mother's Day is now in the books. It was a mellow weekend around here with the crappy weather. We woke up to snow on the ground Sunday morning. Nick was on-call this weekend, which meant he was gone for most of the day on Mother's Day. So instead of hitting the spa, getting a pedicure, or going to a fancy brunch on Sunday, I was home, doing the mothering, like any other day! I was however, showered with a few lovely gifts - a crazy blue orchid, a pot of daffodil bulbs, a card, and a sweet little handprint painting that Reese made at school.
Mother's Day is a funny thing. It definitely brings up a lot of emotions for me, especially now that I am a mom to an actual mini-human. But even before that, and for many other people, it can be a tough day. It might even be a painful day. Maybe you lost your mother. Maybe you lost your child. Maybe you wish more than anything that you could be a mother, but you aren't. Maybe you have zero desire to be a mom. Maybe you don't have the relationship with your mother that you would wish for. And seeing all the "happy mother's day!" posts on Facebook can bring it all to the surface. I have friends in all of these scenarios. I really thought about each one of them yesterday and said a little prayer for strength, healing and guidance for all of them. And I shied away from posting to social media altogether.
I'm definitely not the first to report that motherhood is tough. You kinda don't know what your in for until you do it - like jumping out of a plane or seeing the car crash in slow-motion before it happens. You can imagine it a million different ways ahead of time, and lord knows I did - reading, researching. writing, asking questions, praying - that I would be able to figure it out.
It can feel like you have lost yourself entirely at times, and your only focus is tending to this little soul that you have been entrusted with. So the things that used to be important no longer matter, and things you thought you would never say or do in a million years become the every day norm. Your love for this little soul is infinite, and heart grows exponentially to accommodate, but it no longer lives within you. It really is suddenly transferred to this little being, and will forever be walking around outside yourself in this big world. So you do what all moms do and try your best to protect, shelter, nourish, soothe, teach so they can grown, learn and thrive. You pray for patience, you pray to hold it together some days and during some especially long nights. Other days are seamless and smooth and filled with smiles, matching outfits, cute Facebook posts and a clean house, and you thank god for the easy days to get you through the others.
I am no longer in the "i'm pregnant but not yet a mom" phase were everything could be romanticized and my new reality had yet to really begin, and I am no longer in the "I have a tiny sleepy baby" phase that is so challenging because of the newness of it all, but yet very direct in nature - eat, sleep, play repeat. I am now in the "I am responsible for this pint-sized human" that really is her own person and growing by leaps and bounds each day. Toddlers really are joy incarnated...until they're not. They can be independent and all-comsuming. I hope my decisions are the right ones. I hope she grows to be like me in some ways, and better than me in many other ways. I hope my decision to buy the organic berries and applesauce pay off, that she is healthy, happy, full and whole.
I think having a complicated relationship with my own mother has brought a lot of this into focus this year. This last year especially has given me insight into what my mom might have felt. It gives me some threads of common understanding while at the same time, causes me to come up short every time when I consider some of her choices.
The only thing I do know for certain is that every single woman's journey to and through motherhood is different, and there is little space for comparison or judgement. There is much more work to be done to support and care for mothers in all parts of the world, and acknowledge that raising mini-humans to inhabit and take over this planet for us when we are gone is kind of a big deal.
So this one is for all the moms out there - moms of babies, moms of furry animals, moms to friends and co-workers. No matter the form or step in the journey, thanks for doing your best each day. I hope you got your spa day, your brunch or a finger painting - or at the very least, got one of those easy, smooth days complete with smiles, matching outfits and a clean house (Facebook post optional).