With the impending Mother’s Day coming up, I decided to write a post about Moms. I always feel a little corny though writing about this, because I am a mom and it feels like I’m bragging. Being a mother is probably the only job that we feel guilty when talking about. We face the glazed over stares in people’s eyes when we talk about our children, and the total lack of enthusiasm over the things that happen to us within a day. And even the ending of day to day conversations with friends, because they have all of these outside worldly experiences to share, and all you have to talk about is how exhausted you are after your kid puked all over the floor last night — Which you slipped in and subsequently spent an hour cleaning up. It’s not a glamorous job. It comes with zero pay, zero monetary benefits and little to no, thank yous. It’s the only job that you would work seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and never have a single cent more than what you started with. The kind of job where you lose sleep from worrying, from consoling another crying human being at all hours of the night after they had a bad dream, from changing wet bedding, and soothing fevers. It’s the only job where you don’t have time to sit and anticipate about your next break or when lunch rolls around, because often you never get a break and you hardly get a chance to eat. There’s no boss rolling by your desk with a proud pat on the shoulder for doing such a good job at keeping these little people alive and whole. There’s no assistant clambering to help you when your workload is beyond dismal. No employee of the month award, or special parking space, no Christmas bonus, vacation time or sick days. It’s the one job where there are zero admissible excuses for having to miss work. Motherhood is probably the most thankless job known in existence.
The benefits for us mothers though, is to see the smile on our kids faces. To receive the hug from the ones we pine over and hear the “I love you,” just before bed. To know that they made it through another day with us as their manager. Sometimes only narrowly making it, but still. And the satisfaction in knowing that maybe one day your child will have their own children and realize why you were so cranky and disheveled for so many years of their life. We get this one day a year that our family acknowledges us for what we do and we soak in every drop of praise and love that day brings, to carry us through the other 364. I’ve been a mother for seventeen years and for those years I have periodically felt that my only purpose in this great wild world was to serve my children. To pick up toys, scrub sinks, wash clothes, make food, bathe babies and somehow find the time and energy in-between it all, to entertain them. It’s an easy rut to fall prey to, for us stay-at-home Moms. These responsibilities do not take care of themselves and the thought of the whole house falling down around our ears because we took a day to rest, is enough to make us forget the idea that we even need rest. When our kids aren’t around, we spend that time worrying if they’re okay, and go over the most unlikely scenarios in our heads of why we haven’t heard from them in the last hour. But for one day a year we feel loved and appreciated by all, for our sacrifices, concerns and care.
As a child I didn’t quite grasp what Mother’s Day really meant. I would break out my crayons, construction paper and Elmer’s glue and make what I believed to be a masterpiece of a card and hand it to my mom with a smile from ear to ear. My mother always looked at the card adoringly and thanked me with a warm bear hug. And that was it. There was no mother’s day cake, no real presents, no letting my mom off the hook for making breakfast, lunch and dinner and because it was on a Sunday we usually had to get prepared for school the next day. Which meant clothes needed to be cleaned and put away. I always felt bad for my mom, knowing that this special day was for her and yet it was much like any other day. When my own daughter got old enough to plan something for me, I always told her not to worry about buying me anything but that a handmade card or letter from her that I could save, would be the best preset of all. My daughter would wait until the very end of the day to take out some paper and markers to make me a card and tell me “Happy Mother’s Day.” This was after I usually spent all morning and afternoon fussing at her to pick up her room and put away her clothes already.
Mother’s Day can feel like that all-inclusive work birthday party, where nobody’s name is on the store bought cake because they are celebrating the entire month of May’s birthdays. No song, just an impersonal e-mail that dings in your inbox alerting the entire company that there is cake in the breakroom. Even with it’s little to no surprises and often forgotten purpose, we mothers still look forward to this day of acknowledgment each year. We pretend to forget it is approaching and usually spend the time leading up to it thinking about what we will do to show our gratitude for our own mothers, rather than what will be done for us. Because that is the life of a mom. It’s a selfless role because it has to be one. Any other job that offered so little in the way of appreciation for work well done, would have the highest turnover rate in employees, ever seen.
At the end of the day, we love our children. We are thankful for their existence and in that gratitude we spend every waking moment trying to keep their lives with us not only a happy one, but one that they will look back on and remember fondly as adults. So we wake up each morning and give the very best that we have in every way and try our hardest not to fail them. We may wear the same clothes four days in a row, not have time to wash our hair or change the shirt with greasy fingerprints and dishwater spots all over it until the night comes to a close, but we do it all with gratitude for these little humans that we are charged with raising. We do it knowing that the thankfulness from our kids may be few and far between, but that one day they will be grown, maybe with children of their own and in that moment will understand with great appreciation all of the sacrifices that we made for them as mothers. The real point to mother’s day for us moms is to remind us of what it meant when we became mothers and why it is that we do what we do, each day.
To all of you beautiful, wonderful, selfless mothers out there who only remember that Mother’s Day is approaching because of the countless, cheesy TV commercials played on constant loop — I want to personally wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! Now get back to work!!