There is a reason one of the most hardcore swear words begins with Mother-. To be a Mom you have to be fierce. You have to be strong. You have to be creative and passionate, tenacious and sharp. You won’t make it through the first year unless you have a strong stomach and the ability to numb your gag reflex. Mommying is messy. It is glorious, beautiful, amazing, and filled with wonder. But it’s messy.
I alternate between viewing my role as a Mommy in either a sepia tinged, twilight time, sentimental, everything means everything, look at her little hand in mine kind of focus, or in a take no prisoners, Pat Benatar was understating it, put on the Sephora war paint and let’s go, kind of outlook. Either way I look at things, I am constantly surprised.
There are just so many things I don’t know. So many things I can’t remember. So many times a day where I feel like I don’t quite measure up. So many more Moms at the park that look better than me & whose children are wearing matching socks and an actual ribbon in their perfectly brushed hair. But there’s also a thousand tiny victories that keep spurring me forward. Failure is not an option. Quitting is out of the question. There are no take-backs.
If this were any other area of my life, I would have given up by now. Partly because I have always been good at quitting, and partly because it’s just so hard to be a good Mommy. And I don’t even want to be a good Mommy, I want to be great. If you google Mommy Greatness, I want pictures of my smiling children in Pinterest-worthy pictures to pop up. With re-shares and a million likes. But it doesn’t always happen that way, at least, not for me.
I’m not always who I want to be. Sometimes I am selfish and unkind in ways that embarrass me. I share the cookie with my child, but take the bigger half. I raise my voice so that he can hear me when I tell him to stop yelling at his sister. I turn more than one page at a time when reading a long bedtime story, thinking they won’t notice that the princess is suddenly out of the tower she got locked in the page before… on and on.
But they love me. I mean, they really love me. And I love them. These little people with their own minds and will and ways of doing and learning. These future adults that I have been trusted with and given the responsibility to help refine their rough edges. Children I get to have a hand in building up so that life cannot break them down. Children who are honest and stand for something. Children who stand up for what is right, even if that means calling me out on my mistakes. Children who will come alongside the lonely child on the playground and be their friend. My children have already become people who do things that most adults struggle to do. They are better than I could have ever imagined. They are thoughtful and forgiving. They are artists and fearless dancers. They know how to love. As challenged as I am by some of their choices, I am more challenged by the deep reserves of love that they pour out on those around them. Especially me.
At the end of the day, I know that I have not earned what I have been given. I have not said enough, done enough, loved enough to deserve these five beautiful little people who call me Mommy. There is no reason that I should have my arms and lap so full, when others find their arms empty. I did not plan for this to be my life, and yet, it is. Now that I have met them, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Getting to this part of my life has taken everything I had in me, all my courage, strength, conviction, and tenacity. I will continue to fight for my children and love them with a primal fierceness that surprises even myself. I find that, day after day, what humbles and surprises me most is how much these amazing little kiddos love me. It’s amazing how the thing that means the most to you is the thing that brings you to your knees. But, it can also be the thing worth getting back up for.