M O M • M o t h e r • M o m m y – A person who gives birth, or cares and protects another being as if you gave birth to them. Mom is such a strong word to us mothers but when you look it up the word sounds so basic. It means to give birth OR anyone who can love and care for others in a motherly way.
As I continue to celebrate this amazing weekend full of love and gift showering, and lots of sweets, I was slapped in the face with this Webster reality. I was angry when I read it. That was it. That’s how motherhood is defined? Then I realized that’s not motherhood, that’s simply how the word mom is defined. So what’s motherhood?
Now before, I go on let me explain where My aha moment came from. Here I was yesterday, mad, feeling selfish and proud thinking my husband didn’t praise me enough as a mother during this special weekend. After all it’s one weekend a year, and I deserved it. Especially after everything I do. Then, an amazing gift was received from my husband. I felt so bad the rest of the evening for being bratty and acting the way I did all day long. I had literally secluded myself from my family because I was feeling the way I did and just pretty much pouted as I laid down in bed. I told him at first i just wanted rest because that’s what I wanted to do since it was my weekend. That was really just the self justification I told myself so I could get away with my stand-offish mood. I wasn’t fooling anyone though, not myself, not him and def not God. I felt so bad about my feelings after I opened my gift that I had to spill everything out and share my pride with my husband. As amazing as he is he shrugged it off and simply said, “Well, it is your weekend, and I didn’t even notice what you’re talking about.” Wink wink.
Then, I woke up this morning to a studio that was put together, my gift in a large box, was a photo studio with 18 backdrops, two light boxes, umbrellas, and light diffusers. I mean I’ve always wanted all this stuff but never thought I’d own it all. And in one day, it was here and up. I had no idea he was getting this for me and it means the world to me, considering I obviously love taking pictures. I mean with cute kids like mine how can you not. He put a lot of thought in this gift and got me something he knew would enhance my mommy and me moments.
As I stared in awe, thinking that I didn’t deserve this gift, that I have messed up so much. Lost control so many times, that there’s been days I treat everyone in the house with the bare minimum amount of love I have to give just to get us through the day. I was reminded of Gods love, how undeserving we are yet he loves us anyway. Like my husband does I and me him. My love for my children is the same way. They can do wrong. Never. I will always love them.
But that’s coming from a mom who has not gone through teenage years with them yet. I’m human and I’m aware that there will be those feelings of disappointment, anger, and plain fed upness with them. So, then is my motherhood still valid by that unconditional love that I speak of. For in tough times and hard moments that unconditional love could be and will be tested. So, now I ask, is it really that simple, to say a person can be a mom because they gave birth and have that instant feeling of conditional Ooops sorry I mean unconditional love.
This doesn’t sound right to me. I’m human and yes I love my children unconditionally, but there will be moments of weakness. I’m not perfect. So I sit here and ask again, What then defines me as a mother?
I’ve thought very long and hard about this. My motherhood isn’t defined by my husband- he thinks I’m the best mommy ever. It isn’t even defined by my own opinions of how good or how bad I think I’ve messed up. It isn’t defined by Webster either, and it sure in hell isn’t defined by how other mothers see me. I’ve realized one thing defines motherhood for me. One thing that makes a person into a “mother”- and that’s the effort put into leading a child to be people capable of navigating the inevitable bumps of living in this world.
Not raising a child. Grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles can raise your child for you. Just simply “raising” your child is half the battle. Yes. You work hard to feed them and clothe them and to put a roof over their head. Yes, your child never goes without. Well done! I mean it, because in this world that’s hard to do. What I’m saying though is if life is hard for you, then use it. Use it to lead them with grace and a strength that only you can show them. It will prepare them in their life ahead. We try to shelter our kids from pain and hardships because we care, but they need to learn how to manage through those times too and preferably before they ever leave your house.
I was fed, I was clothed, and for almost all of my life, I had a roof over my head. My mother did her best at that. Then I moved to my dads at 15 to be away from my mom. My step mother and father then did their best at raising me and I have them to thank for trying to lead me towards God. I left home two days after graduation and moved into a city with no knowledge on really how to live a life beyond everyday needs and wants. I didn’t know how to balance life, deal with stress, or how to remain strong in hard times. I did however know how to work hard.
In the last 13 years since I’ve graduated, I’ve had so many woman come into my life and give me love and care as a mother would. I’m beyond grateful, even if it was only in a moment, and not a lifetime. I’ve been beyond privileged to have woman pour into me in a way that saved me from myself, from temptation and from harm. I’ve had woman accept me, challenge me, and lead me. I don’t know where or who I would be without them. Yet, I have never called these woman mom but they did commit to influence and lead me in some way or another. Which brings me back to my aha moment.
As I threw my fit thinking I needed praise, because I am a MOM, because I have the title, that I deserve praise, but let’s just face it, we all just want the praise. ‘Motherhood’ is hard, dirty, slimy, and tests us, but we aren’t promised the praise nor do we really deserve it. We all love the praise of course, in the good times we love motherhood and we try to make it through the hard ones, so this one day a year is a nice reminder for everyone in our family to praise us for our efforts. We deserve it! Ya!!!!
In no shape or form am I trying to discount our motherly efforts we all put in day in and day out. I just think though that I’m hit with the reality of pride that I have gained from that word as a title. I carry this entitlement that is not justified.
It may have to do with the fact that at 21 I was a mother for 8 months and then it all was gone. Ripped from my hands. So when I was 23 and my second son came I was relieved that I could be “called” that again. I earned it back. However, that doesn’t justify or give meaning to motherhood. Giving birth to two more beautiful babies afterwards doesn’t somehow give me extra brownie points over other moms either. Spending 7!years covered in puke, poo, and drool doesn’t define motherhood either. All these moments add value to motherhood but does not define it. Before today motherhood to me meant swimming in the poo with a smile. It meant giving my best in this chaotic day to day life we are living meanwhile providing for my children.
Today however I’m hit with a different view. Swimming in poo only lasts for a few years. The stay at home mom eventually is left alone? At some point we will all be empty nesters. So then what? Again, what defines you as a mother? Me as a mother?
Disclaimer—Some, well many, may disagree with me. You may not like what I’m saying. But the harsh reality in my world, is that my mother is not part of who I became. She did not build me up, she did not give me tools, and she did not lead me. Ever. Now don’t bash her, because she was and has always been a woman who worked hard for us. At many points in her life she worked two jobs so we could survive. Yet, there is no significant moment where she helped me in managing through this journey we call life. Now does that mean she’s not my mom, no. It can’t take that away. However, now I know she and a whole lot of people will get offended by this, but the harsh reality is, that she was never present in her journey of motherhood. She was present in her own journey of life. Trying to make ends meet was her main focus.
I’m not here to make you angry. I’m not here to make a million friends either, I started this blog as a place to challenge you to be a better you. So as I share my moment of clarity, or to some my misconstrued opinions, I hope in some way I’m able to make you think outside your own walls of understanding that it will compel you to at least try. For in the end that’s all we can do.
Heck I’m trying now, I will have a many days that I fall short, but like Dr. Laura Markham said in Peaceful Parenting, it’s fine, we just have to take ONE ACTION AT A TIME. If you’re like me don’t focus to much on the things we’ve done wrong. Don’t focus on how we’ve messed up or how we have too many days living in choas to even try. Each day is a new day, and I want to always do my best at this journey called Motherhood. “No matter how many times I go 2 steps forward, and one step back, it still gets my family onto a more positive path + closer to a new landscape.” as said by Dr. Markham. That’s. Relief for me. I know we can’t be perfect, I know there will be difficult days so those set backs don’t mean much in the grande scheme of things.
My eye will stay focused on the never ending goal, to always serve them in a way that helps them grow. That’s the mother I’m called to be. The one that never stayed stagnant or didn’t try. I want to lead my children down a path of positivity and through an overall well balanced life. For that’s the best gift a mother can give. That’s a gift many mothers can, should, and need to give.
So as I focus on MY O W N commitment and the priority to help my babies with self – regulation, connection, and respect so they can manage in a world of turmoil, and hardships. I challenge you to raise up motherhood. Make motherhood more! More then a simple, “Whew- we made it through that.” Make your job of motherhood the most important job you have. Because in the end, you’re raising humans, and not just any humans, but our future generation. Please don’t burden them with your anger, hatred, or victimization, for they did nothing wrong. I ask that you as a mother, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself can you be better? Even if you only see a hair thin chance of room to grow in you, do it! Show your children how to manage life. Show them emotional intelligence. Give them the gift of understanding how to live life physically, morally, and mentally aware.
Motherhood isn’t about refereeing their daily actions, that just puts you in a Godly position. Instead, strive to be their coach, their confidant, and their counselor. Lead them.
I don’t know about you other moms, but as I listen to that word tomorrow in all the happy celebrations my perspective will be forever changed. As my kids yell my name in all the joyful, excited, sad, angry, proud and hard times, I will remember what that word means. I will remember my motherly duty to them- to take every moment and use it in a way to help them be better.
Now to you mom- remain strong in the hard days, stay strong in the midst of chaos, through the tiredness, you can do it!! For you were called by God to be a mother to those sweet babies of yours. So repeat it to yourself, write it down, you are strong! You are strong enough!
She is strong- Proverbs 31:12