Mother’s Day always brings a diverse set of emotions for me surrounding motherhood.
Usually at this time of year, I am focused on the mothers I have been lucky enough to have in my life. The women who mothered me. A compassionate, giving biological mom; a strong, loving step-mom; a tough as nails mother-in-law with a huge heart; and a handful of mom figures and mentors.
And there is always the grief over losing my mom 20+ years ago.
But, this year is markedly different. I am feeling reflective. I am feeling a sense of gratification.
This year I am honoring my own journey as a mom. Not just recognizing it, but appreciating the 20 years I have been raising children.
I am also giving a shout out to all the moms who have been alongside me. Literally and figuratively. We all know, being a mom certainly isn’t easy.
When I became a mom more than a decade ago, something mountainous shifted in my soul.
Little did I know, I was being prepared to become the best version of myself.
With the arrival of my children, my heart widened and I developed the capacity to love more vigorously than I ever thought possible. My heart became full with the rapture of devotion I felt for these little beings. I would change diapers and fix bottles and soothe their hurts and hunger with tenderness in my heart. I felt adoration and care in every cell of my body for these two people I created.
I never knew, before then, that I could love so deeply.
Then my babies arrived. Little balls of malleable pink flesh and smiles and I realized nothing could be further from the truth.
Having someone call me mom has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.
In parenting, control is oftentimes an illusion.
Yet, as my reign was being challenged, my character was being strengthened.
What Motherhood Teaches
- I learned about and lived the true meaning of the word sacrifice. Giving of myself, as if an offering to the Gods.
- I developed resilience as my children handed out some of my highest highs and lowest lows. I learned to bounce back as they delivered me to an elevated sense of euphoria one day, only to drop me to my knees the next.
- I began to excel in humility. I learned not to boast about my children because the moment I felt comfortable that all was right with the world, it wasn’t.
- On the dance floor of motherhood, I became adept at waltzing with fear. Arching against its force on the small of my back as it tried to pull me in tight. Desperately trying to keep it at arm’s length.
- As a mom, I have been under the tutelage of anger. I never knew I could reach such deep sensations of heated rage toward my offspring. Likewise, I was surprised by the maternal wrath that erupts should someone try to harm them.
Having children is like having my heart running around outside of my body. It has forced me to confront my own vulnerability. My kids are under their own control and likewise at the mercy of the whims of the world. I will never have command of the circumstances in their lives.
When my children were young, I naturally had dreams for them. Ideas of who I thought they would become and a plan on how to get them there. Then they grew and developed into their own people and it became very clear that their own dreams for themselves would rival anything I might have had in mind.
Yes, being a mother is one of the most challenging things I have done.
But, motherhood has helped me transcend any semblance of who I was before I had kids.
Motherhood has developed my character. It has improved it.
It has made me greater. It has made me better.
It has made me stronger, more forgiving, and flexible. It has developed my courage, my ability to be humble, and my generosity.
It has developed within me a capacity to love greater than I ever thought possible.
I am thankful for my beautiful children and the lessons they have taught me along the way.
I have watched them grow and mature and become successful in different areas of their lives.
I relish these people I had a hand in creating.
They are not perfect, just as I am not.
But, I realize, I have done a good job.
We mothers don’t always tell ourselves this.
I know I don’t. Especially during the sleepless nights when worry about their future and well-being consumes my dreams.
As I honor my own motherhood journey this week, I also honor the mothers of my generation around the globe. My sisters in motherhood. The mothers that have been in the trenches with me. Although we have done it differently, we are all stronger for having been a mom. We are all better.
You, my sisters, have done an amazing job. Tell yourself that. Understand it. Believe it.
Look at your beautiful children and soak it all in.
We have done an amazing job!