I have been told by two little boys (who may be slightly biased) that I am the best mommy ever. I know full well I am not. There are millions of best mothers out there.
We all have our struggles. Whether (like me) you are juggling being the solo head of household with a demanding career and two children or you are the mother of four who’s holding down three jobs just to put food in her kids mouths, most mothers make the sacrifices necessary for their family. The mom who stays home full time with her children deserves a special order of sainthood in my eyes. Regardless of the external factors in our lives, we put aside our own hobbies, interests and needs in order to give our all to our kids.
Mothers suffer from fatigue. (Yes, you can watch TV while I take a nap.) We wrestle with the guilt we feel when our kids frustrate us. Sometimes when a raised voice is not enough to get their attention, I do what is described as the “crazy mommy dance” where I go all five-year-old with shrill cries and rapid foot-stamping. Then I fear these moments are what my boys will remember most about me. After a 12-day run of having the kids every night while their dad was on vacation, I admit it felt good to go out to dinner on Thursday instead of rushing home to pick up them up and get them to baseball practice or help with homework. But while it was nice to have a break, when I went to bed that night, out of habit I peeked into their rooms to check on them.
And this morning when I woke up to an empty house, I might have cried.
Growing up, there was never any question in my mind that I wanted to be a mother. Regardless, I still marvel that I have two such beautiful (albeit dirty, stinky, wise-cracking, stubborn, exhausting) little boys in my life. A brief pregnancy scare recently gave me days (five to be exact) to think about what it would be like to mother through all the stages of infancy and early childhood again. I was ready to embrace it, sleepless nights, career challenges and all. Colin has such middle child syndrome already that I always assumed I’d have a third.
In my heart, every day is Mother’s Day. When I arrived at the kids’ little league game yesterday and Colin left the bench to come give me a hug, that was better than any card. When Jack says, “I love you, Mommy” for no apparent reason, it’s better than getting roses, sleeping in or having breakfast in bed. The challenge is to remember these moments and store them someplace special so you can draw on them in the times of fatigue, frustration and loneliness.
Or, perhaps, to ward off the crazy mommy dance.