- It’s not about me. Of course I need to take care of myself and nurture the me inside the mom, but in the end, being a mom is really about putting my children first. There’s this sentiment floating around that warns women they will lose themselves to motherhood. They’re right! But the woman I “found” as a result of “losing” myself to motherhood is someone I like much better. Making sacrifices of self for another human being is not a bad thing.
- How to eat humble pie. Every mom knows you can never say never, because as soon as you do, whatever it is you said you/they would never do invariably happens. Whether it’s being pulled over for speeding while driving my kids to school in my pajamas, explaining to my three-year-old daughter that no, this nice gentlemen I’m speaking with is most definitely not pregnant, or receiving the dreaded phone call from the principals office, I learned pretty early on to tolerate regular servings of humble pie. And as a result of being “there” time and time again, I’ve developed a lot of compassion for other mothers in the same spot.
- It’s not a competition, it’s a commitment to our children. Motherhood is not about who makes the cutest cupcakes, who goes to “Mommy and Me” yoga most often, or who puts in the most hours at the school. Personally, I gave up the imaginary battle for “Mother of the Universe” a long time ago. Save your mental and physical energy for things that really matter to you, like a good long talk with your teenager or an afternoon at the park with your toddler.
- I don’t own my children. Yes, I brought them into this world, but I didn’t really create them. Every one of my children came hard wired, and it is clear I am not supposed to control or manipulate them. My role is to facilitate the individual process of helping them become who they really are–even if that’s totally different from what I had originally imagined!
- It’s better to laugh than cry. (Or scream.) Motherhood has got to be the world’s most aggravating and frustrating job at times. The relentless nature of the work can drive a person to tears. Laugh instead. What other job can result in finding a binky in your cleavage at the end of the day? (True story.)
- It’s about progress, not perfection. I was pretty hung up on perfection in my early years as a mother, but now I like to think of perfection as a verb instead of an adjective. To perfect means to improve, refine, hone, or work on. If you really stop to think about it, motherhood is just one big unfinished project free of deadlines or specific end goals. What a relief!
- Today is not forever. There are so many stages of motherhood, and they all have their challenges and blessings. When I’m in the middle of a particularly tough one, I try to remember that it is just that (a stage) and that today is not forever. On the flip side, being the mother of growing children has taught me to stop and savor the beautiful moments for the exact same reason: today is not forever.
- The best things in life really are free. Forget about Disney Cruises, granite countertops, and boutique wear for your new baby. Smiles, snuggles, companionship, conversation, a sense of belonging, a reason to get up, the satisfaction of watching another person grow under your care–these are the best things of motherhood, and they are all free. Free!
- Happy families make messes. Of course I appreciate a clean and orderly home as much as the next person, but I’ve learned that when our family is really doing what families do best, our house can be quite a mess–and that’s okay. Messes are only temporary things that create permanent memories and long-term happiness.
- Every single cliche about motherhood is true. The joy is in the journey. You’ll never do anything so hard and yet so gratifying. The greatest work any of us will ever do will be within the walls of our homes. Pretty much every last quote, pin, or cliche about motherhood is right on, and as much as we all like the idea of breaking the mold and being different, this is one area in which I like to bask in the commonality of humanity and enjoy being part of “Club Mom.”
QUESTION: What has motherhood taught you?
CHALLENGE: None. Happy Mother’s Day!