I’m not a perfect mom. I get tired. I complain. Sometimes I don’t want to talk about anything at all and I only want to sit alone in a room in complete silence.
On Christmas Eve, I threw a tantrum that could only be rivaled by 1 year old Beej’s glorious fits. I let nerves, stress, exhaustion and a whole bundle of emotions I would rather not get into get the best of me. I was convinced that the gifts I had to give were not good enough. The house was a mess. The food didn’t turn out right. With the little guys in the house, I wanted them to experience the joy and wonder of Santa while their parents had different ideas. I know this is not on me, but I embraced it as my own shortcoming just the same. I felt that in trying to live up to my own unrealistic expectations that I had let everyone, including myself, down.
I really beat myself up this Christmas season and the recurring theme appeared to be all things MOTHERHOOD. I thought about what it meant to be a mother, how differently everyone mothers, what makes a good mother or one that is below standards and by whose rubric are they graded. While I was panicking that the stockings would be empty, I examined the mothers close to me as well as the ones whose paths I crossed while out and about.
And although I’ve known this all along, I was reminded of the following things-
Not all mothers are born mothers. Some take time to learn. Some never do.
Not all mothers put their children’s well-being before their own. I’ve been a mother for 25 years and I still can’t imagine sitting down at the table to eat a meal if one of my kids hasn’t eaten yet. And if we are eating out and their food isn’t quite what they expected, I will still offer them my plate.
Not all mothers live by the “mind over matter” mantra. I have cared for my children while having a myriad of illnesses, only slowing down when reinforcements had arrived (aka Dad) or everyone was sleeping soundly.
Not all mothers hear their kids in their sleep. I’m the lightest sleeper in town and now I not only hear my own kids’ many trips up and down the stairs or to the bathroom but baby Beej’s cries when he loses his pacifier.
Not all mothers see and hear what their kids are telling them…. even when their kids are
screaming it in their face telling them. I see children begging for their mom’s attention in a variety of ways- some as point blank obvious as “Play with me”.
And not all mothers WANT to see or hear what their kids are telling them.
Not all mothers realize how incredibly powerful their words are. One sentence uttered in anger can linger in a child’s mind for the rest of her life.
Not all mothers love unconditionally. I’ve often thought about this. What are acceptable conditions when it comes to loving your child? I can’t think of any. I tried to raise my kids to be caring, responsible, compassionate people and although some might need a little work, I don’t feel that warrants me not loving them. Yet, I see mothers who only want to be with their kids when they are happy and cute and funny (if they are small). Mothers of adult children…..I’m not sure where to begin with that one. I don’t feel that it’s my place to tell my adult children who they should be. Each one is unique and special in his own way and I wouldn’t change a single thing about any of them.
Not all mothers want to be mothers.
And not all mothers ARE mothers.
Every child deserves to be loved unconditionally, supported, accepted and nurtured by their mother.
And as for the end of that Christmas holiday that was kicked off by my horrible behavior? Christmas evening was spent with us gathered as a family watching Elf. My husband and children were willing to forgive (and hopefully forget) my moments of insanity and I love them all the more for their acceptance, love and support of me.