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Monday, May 13, 2013

happy, happy momma

It's Mother's Day (Week)! 
A day to celebrate all the good that we mommas do in our everyday lives, in our roles and in this big job we work every day for our children. It's a day for us to take off, rest, leave the chores aside... and yet, if you ask any mother, she'll undoubtedly report having done at least a load of laundry or dishes, changed too many diapers, wiped some noses and dressed some kiddos. A mom's job is never done or even postponed just because it's a holiday.

I got to thinking this weekend, while spending so much time with my babies, what is this motherhood thing all about? If I were to describe it to a new mother, how would I explain it? Of course moms have asked me certain questions like recently when my co-worker who is trying to have a baby asked me detailed questions in total awe of how I pack my kids' lunches for the week on Sunday evenings. But I'm not sure I've ever had to really explain what motherhood is all about. 

So here is a little bit about what this weekend's motherload had in store for me. 

Being a mom means taking pictures that nobody else would think to take or care to keep forever. Like ones of tiny feet that now look bigger because they are in shoes. Or of sleeping babies ... creeping in, tiptoeing, swearing under your breath when the flash makes the silent baby jerk in motion, crossing fingers that she doesn't awaken. Yet going through this because the sleeping picture is so necessary for  reflecting on later when that baby is walking and sleeping in a toddler bed and not so little someday.

Being a mom is to know what it's like to watch something grow in the fastest amount of time you've ever known. To look at something little and see it get bigger and develop and learn new things in the blink of an eye. It's not something that can be explained. You hold that newborn and then she starts crawling, as if overnight. And you have no idea where the time went.

You write down details in a baby book month to month, and even a month later when reflecting back you smile and laugh thinking, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that." You try to memorize moments, like when your son learns what those yellow flowers are called ... dandy-liars, of course, and you hold on so tightly to those silly moments during the tough toddler tantrums when you're not sure who this little maniac is on certain days.

To be a mom is to just enjoy what is instead of wondering what could be. 
It's to accept the limitations and challenges that occur every day as just normalcy, nothing to fret over. It's to realize that yes, you are good the way you are, good enough, even better really. You are exactly what your family needs, your babies need, right now, forever.

It's to laugh, boy do we laugh! Being a mom is about knowing you created this amazing thing with your partner, this family, this forever love. It's knowing that no matter what, you'll always have that, this legacy to leave behind.

Being a mom is knowing that you can't screw them up. You just can't. 
Even if you tried, you can't. 
Because even if you yelled today or forgot to say sorry or didn't spend enough time on the floor playing trucks, he will forgive you tomorrow, he really will. He'll wake up the same way he wakes up every day, with a huge smile and a "What are we doing today, Mama? I missed you last night while I was sleeping!" It's knowing that despite the insecurities and the judgment you fear others cast on things you do or don't do, you ARE OK. You are a good mother. We have to have moments in our everyday lives where we realize this, right? Being a mom is knowing you are so strong you could handle anything. You went through pregnancy and labor.  Everything else is easy after that!

Being a mom is about picking a booger out of a nose just because you would rather feel the grossness on your fingers instead of your baby girl eating it herself. It's staying up all night with a toddler who has his first ear infection and is screaming in pain and only quiet when lying against your chest, sitting straight up, for hours. It's allowing a baby to vomit all over you, crying, while you shush him and say it's OK, holding back your own vomit. It's finding the silver lining in those awful sick moments, finding some type of joy and gratitude in being able to hold your active toddler still in your chest like you did when he was an infant.

Being a mom is being a trooper, team player, go getter, 
and leader.

It's smiling. A lot. More than you knew was possible. At the littlest things.

Motherhood is about finding joy in the most mundane, boring, even ridiculous of tasks ... like grocery shopping. It's about capturing those big grins of pure innocent joy because you have never seen such happiness before, not even from your own wedding day. It's finding a different kind of love ... and loving it so much. I was going to write "loving every minute of it," but motherhood is about reality and learning to accept it's not all flowers and butterflies. It's being OK with not loving every second, with realizing some of it's just hard and that it's normal to want a break sometimes. Being a mom is learning to leg things go, forgive our own shortcomings, and realizing nobody is perfect. Ever. Period.

It's getting down low on your child's level to see the world through their eyes. 
It's remembering the little things like how your son first learned to pedal on his bike and was super proud of putting his shoes on (the wrong feet) all by himself.

It's seeing the look of wonder and excitement on your child's face and realizing you helped put that happiness there for him. It's pride. It's learning to look at the world in a different light because it now is a place of anxiety and yet intrigue for your little one to explore on his own someday.

It's playing a whole lot more than you ever recall doing even as a kid yourself. Being a mom is thinking up new, creative ways to be that fun version of yourself. It's the opportunity to be a kid again and do it differently ... like if as a girl you only wore dresses and never got dirty, now with your son you are jumping in mud puddles every chance you get! (true story!)

Being a mom is knowing there will be obstacles, yet also accepting it's normal to fall sometimes and 
you will always get back up. 

Being a mom is about knowing our kids will face difficult things that we cannot prevent nor control. It's doing our best to teach them and guide them while they're little and growing and before they leave our nest to do the right thing, be kind and helpful toward others. It's realizing what a huge responsibility this mom role is really, that we have the power to shape a life, a human being. It's not taking this for granted one single moment.

It's realizing that not all women get to experience being a mother. It's knowing that we should offer support toward our friends who are trying but can't seem to find that pink plus sign on a pregnancy test. It's again, being so incredibly thankful for what motherhood has brought to our lives. It's remembering pregnancy, with its ups and downs, with gratitude not dismay.

Being a mom is bigger than we can even imagine. 
It's scary some days. It's frustrating on other days. 
Yet it's hopeful, full of wishes, and dreams come true. 

Being a mom makes you feel on top of the world, like you are Super Woman, because just today you folded 5 loads of laundry, built the coolest fort in the living room, read 10 stories, clapped to songs on the radio, and wiped some bottoms a few times. 

Being a mom means finding the extra in an ordinary day. 
It's making time for what matters. Smiles above chores.

Motherhood is a juggling act.
It's a 24/7 job you can't call out sick from.
It's the best thing in the world, really. Pure and simple.
We are so lucky to experience it. 

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