Motherhood is one of the most rewarding yet challenging jobs in the world. I should know as I have been at it since the ripe old age of 18 when I had my son who is now 19. Flash forward to present day… I have a sophomore in college, a 2.5-year-old daughter, and a 20-month-old son.
I believe that the true beauty of motherhood is in every stage of life that you are lucky enough to share with them. Some are harder than others, but every day and phase of their lives is a gift. It can feel impossible on those long days at home with your newborn or those angsty teenage years but there is beauty in those tough moments. Now that I can see my babies and my adult son from both sides of the coin, I can truly enjoy the time from a different viewpoint.
All moms have their own perspectives as we come from many walks of life. We are often too hard on ourselves as we try to juggle the various aspects of child rearing along with whatever hats we wear outside of our children. I often find myself judging myself harder than anyone in my life… what could I have done to be better, faster, stronger? I know there are days that I talk to myself in ways I would never talk to anyone else, so I ask how is that healthy or fair? There are bars that are set for moms that aren’t set for dads. Moms are expected to be the primary caretaker and often Dad is praised when he helps. Some days you can feel like you are drowning and other days it feels like the best job in the world. On those tough days, please be kind to yourself! There is no manual for motherhood. You are doing a great job even during those hard times if your child feels loved and safe.
There will be days when your kids eat at McDonald’s and watch hours of nonsense television while other days they play outside for hours and eat their veggies. Both of those days are beautiful, and each are creating memories of being together. I have asked my college age son about his favorite memories of growing up and his answers are probably the opposite of what you might expect. They are always the simple times when we were just together. His favorite memory of elementary school is being picked up from school on a Friday to get Subway and go to Blockbuster to choose a DVD for the night. Those were the nights I was exhausted from a long week of work, school, and single mom parenting yet they were his favorite.
Your kids don’t need you to be all the adjectives you think a “good mom” should be, they just need you. They want time with you. That is the beauty of motherhood. It is a tough job but it’s the most rewarding one you will ever have and one day before you know it, your kids will be recreating those memories with their kids. There is beauty in the mundane. In the words of Jodi Picoult, “The fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you are one.”