May 11, 2010

Reflections on motherhood

Sunday was "Mother's Day" - a holiday set aside for us to recognize and honor our mothers.  Maybe it's because I've been a mom for almost a quarter-century, or maybe it's because there are so many ways for moms to express themselves now (Facebook, blogs, etc.), or maybe this holiday has truly changed in its focus.  It seems that most of what I heard and read from other moms was introspective, focusing on their thoughts on being a mom.  The sentiments expressed required a few hankies.

As for me, I love being a mom but if I look at it through the lens of realism, I'd have to say it is the hardest job I've ever had, by far.  It has consumed me, humbled me, worn me ragged, and brought me face-to-face with truths about my own childhood - the good, the bad and the ugly.  I have paced the floor with crying colicky babies.  I have paced the floor waiting for teenagers to get home.  I've been awakened in the night by feverish infants, and by telephone calls needing my help.

I have dealt with toddler insurrections and teenage rebellion.  I've compromised, negotiated, plea-bargained, punished, scolded, cajoled, mediated, rendered judgments, imposed sentencing, and reversed past decisions.  Sometimes all in a single day.

Motherhood IS wonderful.  It is God's best and greatest blessing for women.  But it is not for sissies, and it's not all sweetness and light, cooing and cuddling, photo ops and Hallmark card moments.

If I had known then (before children) what I know now, I would have still become a mother, but it would have been with more fear and trepidation.  Mothers go where angels fear to tread, and in my case, rushed in with foolish speed and abandon.  We just don't have enough foreknowledge or sense to see the tough road this journey will take.

On Mother's Day, I received honor and love from my children, whom I adore as precious gifts from God.  But it's not the time to post about how much I love them, wanted them, or my dreams for them.  I'll save those thoughts for another day.

On Mother's Day, it's my turn to look back and give honor and praise to my mother, because before I went through the trials and trevails of motherhood, she forged her own path as a mother, establishing boundaries and guidelines, showing love to the unloveable side of her children, standing up for her children and standing firm in her decisions for us.  Day after day, year after year, her actions and reactions shaped and molded us, and made us who we are today. She guided the development of my faith, my worldviews, my integrity, and my sense of self-worth. No doubt, there are many things I've said and done that I unconsciously borrow from my own rearing. 

I'm thankful I can talk to my mom and tell her how much she means to me, and I am so sorry for those who can't, whether it's distance, death or battle-scarred relationships that separate them from their mothers.

My children are precious, but so is my own mom.  Let me never take her for granted.