I was sitting in church a couple of weeks ago, and in the row in front of us was a young mother, her baby in a carrier and her husband. As I was sitting there, I started to reflect on my own path as a mother—the things that brought me from feeling that first amazing movement of my child to where I am now, three growing-walking-talking kids later.
Being a mother is no joke, man. No. Joke. You go through this whole “emotional catharsis” thing from the time you find out you’re pregnant to the time when they walk out the door for the last time. An emotional catharsis that really kinda makes you a little crazy sometimes. Real mothering is no walk in the park.
Well, that’s not entirely true. It can be at times, but usually the grass on the path is peppered with those sharp sticker things (that really hurt when you step on them), so you have to make sure all the kids have shoes on. And then there’s always the need to find a place to potty in the park, which is not too bad when they’re young because they can, and will, pee anywhere. And of course, you can’t forget the arguing and complaining when it’s hot and they’re hungry and thirsty or someone is looking out someone else’s window. But even with the threat of sharp pokey things, lack of bathroom facilities, and complaining and arguing, it’s still a walk of quality time with these little people that makes all of that other stuff fade. One kiss, one hug, one “Mom, I REALLY love you” and the hardships disappear and are replaced with that never-ending flow of mushy-gushy mother love that can’t be contained or explained.
As I’m sitting and watching this young couple—the father fumbling with the pacifier, trying to do everything he can to calm the baby and allow his wife to sit and listen … the baby stretching, cooing, rooting—I think about the path of understanding and knowledge I’ve been through on this journey so far. I fought the urge to be the crazy lady who runs up to her and gives her a hug and tells her that it’s totally worth it and awesome and that she’ll learn so much about herself, her husband and he children and it will SO enrich her life in a way that she can’t possibly imagine. (And this would have been particularly crazy-looking being that it was in the middle of a sermon, so kudos to me for fighting that urge. Yay me!)
I wanted to tell her that even though what seems like a simple thing like getting in the car with a baby feels like organizing a two-week camping trip and that she will never really sleep well or have control of her life again, that it’s all totally, totally worth it and that everything is going to be okay.
I remember when I got pregnant with my first—the knowing glances, smiles with emotions I couldn’t quite grasp, the never ending advice and suggestions—and as I was sitting here in church totally not listening to the sermon, neurotically focused on this little family, I got it. I get it. I understand now.
Mommies need support. NEED SUPPORT. Whether they think they do or not. The joys and pitfalls of parenting fall between such a broad spectrum of thought and emotion, there is no book or parenting method or idea that covers everything. I suppose being a mother is kind of like being a teenager. You get to a point where you think you know everything and then a couple of years down the road, you realize how little you knew. You remember thinking that you had the world by the balls and you realize that it was actually the other way around, you just didn’t know it.
Watching the man carefully place the pacifier in the baby’s mouth for the 27th time, watching that care and gentleness and the clear love he had for his child and his wife was refreshing. Sometimes we forget in the daily grind, that our life with these young ones translates to love. And that is forever.
So my goal for this week, well, for every week as of today, is to make a point to do at least one thing for another mother. Something that shows support somehow. Something even as simple as taking a few minutes to write a note of encouragement. Because being a mommy may not always be easy, but it sure is important. If you are a mommy, and you understand this and can relate to this, please make a commitment to do the same.
And just for the record, I really dig being a mommy. Neurosis and all.
More adventures tomorrow…
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