Here's a recent (and rare) photo of me with my kids. Note that one of them is trying to push me out of the picture. I believe that we are at a place in our lives where a good family snapshot is a mere fantasy.
As Mother's Day approaches, I find myself thinking often about the role of mothers in general, and my job as a mother, specifically. A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine commented that she was a much better attorney than she was a mother. She, like me, has made the decision to stay at home with the kids rather than pursue a potentially lucrative and exciting career as an attorney. I should have interjected at the time and told her firmly that she is not only a capable and competent parent, but also about as good as they come. I can't imagine a mother who loves her children more. (If you're reading this now, my friend, I hope you take this to heart! )
Her comment, however, made me think about how I view myself as a mother. I can honestly tell you that this is the most difficult task I have ever ever ever taken on in my entire life. I can give you a list of the insanely difficult things I have either done or endured in my life, but motherhood dwarfs them all. (The bar exam? Ha! Not even close!) This stay-at-home mom thing? Impossible! If you see my house on any given day, you would have to agree. My kids run wild, my house is overrun with random shoes and stray food, and every surface that is reachable by a 2 1/2 foot tall human has been tagged with Sharpie. (Incidentally, I think I have discovered where my grey streak is going to be.) You know those blogs where the mom is beautiful, the kids are clean and well dressed, and the home is perfectly decorated? This isn't that blog. This is the blog where the mom is usually wiping poop off of something or someone. Or was that a tropical storm that just swept through my kitchen right after I hand-mopped the floor and scrubbed the grout? I so so so hate grout!
Then I thought of my own mom, who had to do all this, but thousands of miles away from her homeland, from her family. She had to do it with almost no money, an absentee/abusive spouse, and as a result, often waning mental health. My relationship with my mom was always complicated and difficult, but as I delve deeper into my job as a mom, I realize more and more how difficult things were for her. I find myself wondering how she was able to take us all to adulthood, given the circumstances she had.
As you know, my mom died two years ago. However, it was just recently that I figured out what the ache for her in my heart was. For me, despite our complicated relationship, my mom was the person who was proud of me. I could tell her the things I had done, and I knew that made her happy. She would tell me that I had done well or would marvel that I had such an ability to do whatever it was I had done. I truly miss that. Now I ache to pick up the phone to call my mom and tell her about the things my kids have done. I know she would love that.
I owe my mom a huge Thank You and Happy Mother's Day. Also to Jake's mom, Happy Mother's Day and Thank You--you've done a great job!
Today was my daughter's first ever piano recital. She had a brilliant performance. It brought memories of my many piano recitals and how I felt back then. I am glad to report that after she played her pieces, I held her on my lap, gave her a big squeeze, and told her how proud of her I am. Her face beamed, and I saw that my role as her mother isn't so different from my own mom's role as a mother to me.
Happy Mother's Day!