Love you mom! 💞
I think the fantasy of motherhood being this soft, cuddly emotional high wears off about the same time as when people stop dropping in on you and the new baby. And suddenly, many of us found ourselves left alone with this massive bundle of responsibility without an instruction manual. And whether you chose, or fell into, the role of primary caregiver I don’t know that any of us really could have imagined what would be in store for us down the line. It is pretty easy to love a baby. Although young babies require a large amount of physical stamina, their needs are fairly simple. Eat, sleep, diaper, play and repeat. The innocence of this stage is magic and we have great deal of control over their environment. As the children enter the school years, some of the innocence wears off and that smiling baby is replaced with a raging five year old who is shouting I hate you because you bought the extreme cheddar goldfish instead of the three cheese trio. We are left to cope with having have less control over their environments and our children, and what was once a physically demanding job morphs into an emotionally challenging job. Both parents and children need a new set of skills and tools to thrive as they learn to navigate the changing tides of life. Parenting is an incredible journey, it is filled with many highs, lows and everything in between. It requires a huge level of dedication and an enormous amount of work that is unpaid, uncelebrated, unrecognized and unappreciated. Parenting, or more precisely parenting well, is A LOT of work. And often, this means some parts of your life and your some of your needs will take a back seat to your child’s, at least for a while. However, every now and then you get a reminder of how important this unpaid work is. I got that reminder last week. I was volunteering in my sons’ kindergarten class. I had the opportunity to interview the children for their year-end yearbooks. Favourite color, favourite food and so on. The funniest responses came from the question, what does you Mom do while you are at school? I laughed out loud as the children guessed at what their Moms did while they were at school for two hours. Some of my favourites were, my Mom sits on the couch all day, or she “kind of” vacuums, or she cleans up messes. A little farther down the questionnaire was this question…Who is your hero? Hands down, the most consistent answer to this question was - My Mom. Why I would ask? Without any hesitation, the answer was some form of “because she helps me.” Although, we may not have the super powers of Spiderman, Batman, or the Power Rangers there is something extraordinary about the ordinary way we love our children day in, day out that makes us heroes in their eyes. After the fourth child answered that day, I made a promise to remember this moment and to look at my parenting through the eyes of my child and to try to forgive myself for the many times I got it wrong, and to celebrate the times we got it right. Showing up for our children on both our good days and our bad days in a consistent and caring way can be considered heroic, especially to the little beings that rely on us 24 hours per day. I wanted to remember this moment when I felt the powerlessness of not having a paycheck of my own, or when I am craving the validation or recognition that comes from working outside of the home. I wanted to remind myself to not discount or devalue the importance of this non-paying, highly repetitive kind of ordinary work. Our children are our future and we as mothers have an enormous amount of influence over them. How we parent matters, even if it can’t be measured.