Preparing for Mother's Day

I am getting wistful about Mother's Day.

I produce a monthly newsletter for a local parents group and for the May issue, a handful of mothers answered two questions:

What is your favorite thing about being a mother?
How do you keep sane while raising your children?

I did my best to answer those questions, and the process really got me thinking. Sometimes, the annual Mothers Day platitudes leave me cold. Perhaps that's because nothing can truly describe being a parent. It just might be the most elusive activity on the planet, the most impossible to capture completely in words. Of course, I love cuddling with my kids, I love the messy handprint works of art, I love hearing them say "I love you, Mommy." And many, many times, those things are enough reward and enough fulfillment for a busy day spent raising children.

And yet, it doesn't quite get there, does it? Am I the only one for whom those wonderful, warm things are not always enough?

Here are my answers to those two questions:

My favorite thing about being a mom is watching my kids interact with the world. I love hearing them talk to other people, seeing the things they create, hearing their responses to the world, answering their deep questions about life, and learning from them how to stay curious, hopeful and responsive. It’s the most rewarding thing I can imagine, and I feel so fortunate to have a front row seat.

I try to stay sane by taking delight in the many sweet and funny things my kids do. Yesterday, after Rick built a vegetable box and placed it in the ground, my 3 year old came to me, very seriously. “Mommy, we all forgot to do something. Come see.” I was busy and distracted, and didn’t want to stop what I was doing, but she was insistent. So I took her hand, and she pulled me into the back yard and pointed to the empty garden box and said with great concern: “We forgot to put stuff in there, Mommy.” That delighted me, and made me glad I had stopped washing dishes (or whatever) to follow her. Those moments keep me sane and happy in the midst of mayhem.

Those words are true.

But it can be hard work to keep them in mind when I'm in the trenches and feeling -- sometimes -- like a failure. Perhaps the best way to celebrate Mothers Day this year, for me, will be to try very hard to see beyond the difficult and celebrate the people in my family, to focus on my children as people whom I love instead of as people I need to raise every minute of every day. Because you can't put people into words either -- but I sure do love them.

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Teacher Mommy said…
I still have mixed feelings about Mother's Day, especially since I have mixed feelings about my motherhood. I will be celebrating it, so to speak, this coming Sunday rather than on the 9th, partly because I'd have to alter custody weekends and I already have musical tickets for this coming weekend; and partly because I'm going to Get Away the weekend of the 8th/9th with MTL and I have to tell you, the idea of being able to sleep in and have a lazy day with no kid-oriented work involved sounds like a perfect Mother's Day present to me.

And honestly, I don't care if that makes me sound like a Bad Mommy. It's that sort of thing that helps ME survive.

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