Today’s my 10th Mothers Day: a decade of being celebrated as my role as a mom. I’m a big fan of milestones and anniversaries. It’s a time to stop and realize you’ve hit another benchmark in your life and something to celebrate. A decade of holding the same job is certainly something to commemorate and look back on how you’ve grown and changed in your role. This job as mom is one that changes and helps you grow every day, it’s the most rewarding job in the world and also the hardest. To be totally honest, when I realized this would be my 10th Mother’s Day as “mom” my first thought was “wow I really thought I’d have a better idea of what the heck I was doing 10 years into the job”.
It’s true. I remember the night before Maggie’s 1st birthday thinking “I did it!” I survived a year. I thought it was “all uphill now”! All uphill after the sleepless nights, reading What to Expect month by month to see if they were on track, feeding, bathing, etc. That was the hard part and it was behind me. Looking back, the first year was the easiest: at least you got a guide book! So here’s my reflection after a decade of Mother’s Days:
We’re all just doing our best
Really. Truly. And that’s all they need: your best. They don’t need “another mom’s” best, just YOUR best. Don’t worry about how other people parent, what they feed their kids, how they feed their kids, how they dress, how many languages they speak…I often think, there are a lot of things I am fairly certain I am terrible at when it comes to being a mom and maybe I need to work on (cough, cough my baking skills… cough, how loud I yell when no one will get in the dang minivan to get somewhere on time). But I am doing my best. My kids laugh a lot and love their siblings. They get 3 meals a day, even if they don’t always eat them. They get kissed goodnight. We’re all just doing our best.
You need other moms
I know I just said you don’t need to benchmark yourself against other moms but you do need other moms. You need the support of other moms. If there’s something that I think makes “momming” easier in 2019 than it was back in the 80’s it’s this: group mom text chains. I have a running group text group with my friends from high school and one with a group of moms in town. On the good days, the bad days and every day in between… staying connected with other moms keeps me going strong.
Of course seeing moms in real life too, but you know what I mean. I’ve reached out to moms in town for everything from “can you give a ride to soccer” to “come over I’m in labor”. You’ll need moms to go out with for wine after a week of toddler tantrums. Then, hold onto them dearly because you’ll need them to join you for wine as the kids grow and you’ve had a week of eye rolls and talking back. I imagine someday we’ll all go out for wine and chat about college applications and prom dates. Regardless the stage you’re in of “being a mom” support moms around you.
My mom was right
All the things my mom ever said were right. All the things I fought her on, all the times I thought she was crazy, ALL the times.. she was right. When my kids tell me “it’s unfair” or I think maybe “i’m being too tough”, I remember that someday they’ll tell me i’m right too.
Never say never
I don’t like giving actual parenting advice to anyone but this: never say never. It’s really easy when you’re pregnant or parenting your first tiny bundle of joy to make claims to all the things you will never do as a parent. Take this from someone who has done ALL the “I would nevers” I made claim to in my first year. I claimed I would: brush everyone’s teeth twice a day, make them wash hands before EVERY meal and limit to 1 tv show a day. Spoiler alert: NONE of those happen x 4 kids x 7 days a week (even the teeth). As I handed Maggie a cup on her 1st birthday: “I would NEVER let my child have a bottle past their first birthday”…. Said by the same mom that still hands her 3 and 4 year old a bottle of milk if they’ll go to bed at 6:30pm. Never say never people.
It goes too fast
Gosh darn it… all those little old ladies at the grocery store were right! I wish I listened to them. I wish I didn’t roll my eyes and want to scream when people told me “you’ll miss this someday” when they saw me with my first pair of wild toddlers in tow. They were all right, all the time. Because along with the many things I miss about them being babies, there are days (especially when we have a rough morning getting out the door to school) that I truly miss my girls when they’re at school and I’m at the grocery store. You’ll miss bits and pieces of every stage, trust me. There are good things and hard things about each stage. Hone in on your favorite thing about a stage and enjoy it. It will go away quickly without you even realizing it.. until you miss it.
Love them. That’s the only thing I was sure of on my first Mother’s Day and the only thing I’m sure of on my 10th. There’s nothing you have to do but love them every day. There are days I really question if I am doing it all right or doing it all wrong. There are days I yell too much, days I send them to sports games in uniforms I forgot to wash, days I notice when they’re in line for school in the morning that I forgot to brush their hair. There are even harder days, now that they’re older, when they ask questions with hard answers. There are questions I am sure I answer wrong and advice that after I give it, I’m not so sure about. There are days when I hold onto them way too tight and days when I fear I gave them too much freedom. But at the end of each day and each year: I love them, and I love being a mom. Happy Mother’s Day.