One of the hardest things about being a mother is remembering all the Sugar Honey Iced Tea you gave your mother, for essentially no apparent reason at all, and hoping your kids are “not quite” like you were as a child. That is a hard and nasty pill to swallow, but keep reading, there’s a chaser. Take a minute and think about the times you’ve had to make multiple purchases for things your kids needed, right before realizing you didn’t buy yourself a single thing – so you grab a pack of gum to make yourself feel better. As soon as your butt hits the seat of the car, you think – is this what my mother had to go through? And then you answer your own question: No, it was 10 times worse. She worked multiple jobs at times to ensure you had everything you needed and most of what you wanted, without ever talking about the sacrifices she was making to herself, to her life, to her well-being. All the while, you were ungrateful, and wanted more of what she didn’t have to give. She held your hand and cried with you as you explained how someone she never wanted you to hang around, broke your heart or let you down. She lost countless nights of rest and relaxation, waiting up to make sure you made it home safely. At some point, I am sure that in my mother’s eyes, I grew horns and breathed fire! The interesting thing is, as I get older, I find myself using the same phrases as my mother, making things she said 20 years ago finally make sense!
“Because you think fat meat ain’t greasy!”
In this game of motherhood, it is most definitely trial, error, trial, error, trial and then hope for the best again! There is not a single book that will cover everything that you can potentially go through with your own unique set of crumb-snatchers. Nobody can call your name as many times as your kids, within a five-minute time frame. And, that is how I know, if you can tune them out, you can tune out those negative people at work, in your family, or at your church! One of the key things I’ve learned over the years is to not compare my kids to others, and realize they are both totally different. The way they learn, speak, express themselves, even their medical history is totally different, starting from pregnancies. But what this offers us, as mothers, is another to chance to learn from our mistakes with the first one and to try and get it better – not necessarily “right” because let’s face it, nobody knows what right is at this point. We are all winging it!
Change is inevitable – expect it – embrace it!
I have learned so much from my children by simply closing my mouth, and opening my eyes and ears. They are living in an entirely different world than the one I grew up in. So what can you do, other than adapt? Before there was Google and Youtube, it was your friends giving you the inside scoop on a person, place, or thing. Now, every single thing that can influence a person or scare them nearly to death is at their fingertips. We experienced trauma that we never healed from, but somehow we try to protect our kids from getting even the tiniest scratch. Instead of being afraid of the worse that could happen, we should try to prepare them for both, but begin with the best that could happen! A major factor that prevents high emotional intelligence as an adult, relates to the individual not having adequate discussions or coping methods learned as a child. So much time is spent on pretending that bad things won’t or didn’t happen, that children are ignorant when it comes to what to do when something bad actually happens. But these new kids, they are smarter than we think. We have to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to handling bad news. Be honest, but not excessive. Answer the questions in a way they can understand. Tell them how you feel, how a sad moment affects you, and how you grow through it. They need you; you are their first therapist.
Isn’t it ironic we see a “shrink” when we are trying to grow?
I will say, while one kid is easy, having two gave me extensive lessons in subjects I had no idea I needed improvement in. I hear you – like what? For starters, being a mother can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. You never want the other to feel neglected. You have to schedule separate activities geared towards each kid, entertain multiple groups of friends, keep up with numerous teachers and homework. You ask about their day and their friends, and worry that they could possibly be mistreated because they are the minority in your area, an area you placed them in because it seemed safe, resourceful, and full of opportunity. You worry you made the wrong decision, that you are too hard on them, that you don’t spend enough quality time, that you didn’t read enough bed time stories. And that was just one day! By the time you realize you have not been practicing self care, your lil’ self is about to break down physically and you find yourself taking your frustrations out on everyone. And through all that, we get up every day and do it all over again, hoping that this day is a better day than yesterday. Not for ourselves, but for the hope that the next generation we’re raising will be better off and more prepared for the future than we were. But in the meantime, don’t think twice about asking for help or getting a mental tune-up when needed. It can be very refreshing to hear a professional’s point of view and suggestions for self improvement.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup!”
So while you may second-guess whether you’re doing an awesome job as a mother, know there are millions more just like you, out here winging it, living on a hope and a prayer. Spread those wings girl and let them see you soar! If you need to talk to somebody with good sense, consider finding a therapist; your mom-friend is tired and may fall asleep on you. Find things that also make you calm and happy and routinely fit them into your days. Have fun, and laugh so hard that you cry! Create so many happy memories, that the thought of a bad one will seem so unnatural. And just when you feel like you couldn’t possibly fly anymore, remember that you carried a whole living human inside your body, fed it with your body, and literally taught it everything it knows. You, my dear, are a freaking super hero!
Happy Mother’s Day!
You are bold! You are fly! Simply because you are YOU!