As we approach Mother’s Day, I find myself asking exactly what is it to be a mother? Is it that when you come out the other side you are a better person as your children have diligently shaved off your rough edges each and everyday? Is it the wide emotional spectrum we experience? Or perhaps is it better summed up in experiences and moments?
This picture here is from a couple of years ago when I was pregnant with our second child but it’s still one of my favourite pictures. It’s one of the most joyous little moments I’ve had with my intense, intelligent, independent daughter and it was over in a snapshot. My very talented friend from Shanna DaSilva Photography was able to skillfully capture that moment and many others while my two-year old ran around and generally refused to have her photo taken.
In these last few weeks I’ve had to adapt once again as many mothers have had to, to a different or perhaps more enlarged role. I am now a teacher, full-time daycare provider and pastor to my children. I never trained as an early childhood educator, nor ever planned to be with my children 24/7 however here I am. I am constantly in shock at the sheer rollercoaster ride of emotions I go through each and every day as a mother. I can go from bubbly happy, to raging angry, to chirpy patient within 120 seconds. Then stand awestruck as to where the lion came from or how I even managed to get it under control again. I cry when I consider how at any moment I may be randomly exterminated and may not be there for their moments of need, and laugh at the mind-boggling crazy moments I have where I say things that previous to having children I would never have dreamed of saying like: don’t put your foot in the potty, or please try not to eat lady-bugs.
I am often in wonder as well. Humorously, at how I made it through yet another day while being massively sleep-deprived, or for example how my two children can both love and dislike each other in the same moment. A hug in one second, to a disparate scream as my toddler son wreck’s my 4-year old’s creation for the umpteenth time that day. It’s a miracle really that humans can live under the same roof, and here we are. Not built for isolation, nor built for constant contact.
As a mother I have also learned a lot. One of the practical takeaways is the importance of getting enough quality sleep. I cannot be at my best for my family otherwise. Another thing I’ve learned is to not feel guilty for my desire to be productive beyond caring for my children, nor for accepting that in order to be my best self for them that I need to take a little bit of time each day for me. My physical and mental health is important I have learned - ignore it at my family’s peril.
I have also learned to work hard to be present, to take in all of the small glorious moments that make up a life worth living. Like the tender moment of holding your baby for the first time and fondly taking in every last detail of their precious little face. The celebratory moment that only a parent can partake in with the human they brought into the world when they go “pee pee on the potty” for the first time.
How about those big moments that you experience first-hand or that you’re there to guide your child through or celebrate with them? Their first words, first day of school, first award, first full-time job. The heartache when they experience a break up, the sadness when they experience loss. Their wedding day, a big career move, birth of their baby. The list is endless and the moments are priceless, practically impossible to quantify and qualify.
So on this Mother’s Day, I would like to ask how you will take a moment to honour both your mother and yourself? How will you honour that fantastic and fierce multi-faceted woman in you called Mom, Mommy, Mama? Happy Mother’s Day.