This Mother’s Day I had some time ALONE to think about what it means to be a Mother. To start, I looked it up in the dictionary. The last time I looked up a word in an actual dictionary, I think I was 14 and it was for a book report. This time, I looked it up on my phone but you get what I’m saying.
As you’d expect, when used as a noun, the word Mother has a definition of, “a woman in relation to her child or children”. But, when used as a verb, the dictionary lists a mother as “one who brings up (a child) with care and affection, looks after them kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so”.
Hmm, I thought. At its core, the definition is SO simple. Our job as Mothers each day is to LOVE, CARE and PROTECT the little beings that have become a part of our family. The definition doesn’t say that a mother MUST spend every waking hour with her children, feed her child only organic foods or that a mother must bath her child every night! The specifics of how we love, care and protect our children is completely up to us!
How freeing is that?!?
What can I do for MY family in order for ME to love, care and protect my children in the best way that I know how? I don’t know about you but I feel like mothers today are constantly being judged, pressured and guilted into being the “perfect” Mom. And what’s shocking to me is that most of these people who are doing the judging, pressuring and guilting are mothers themselves!
“What?? I can’t believe she let’s her 4-year-old have a paci??”
“Did you see how that mom handled her screaming toddler?”
“How selfish for her to go on a girls weekend with three kids at home?”
I’ve heard all of these things before and trust me, they wouldn’t make a movie like Bad Moms if they didn’t think people out there could relate. I know that I feel it every time my 1-year-old has a tantrum at the store. I sense the glares and many times receive unsolicited advice from people who feel they know what the best way is to handle the situation. Don’t get me wrong, I often look to other people as a source of guidance. I’ve never done this motherhood thing before and what better way to learn than from people who have done it before us or alongside of us. But, at the same time, WE live with our children EVERY DAY. WE KNOW who they are. WE KNOW WHO WE ARE. And, we alone know what is best for OUR family. I’m pretty sure it’s not the person next to me at Target who sees a snapshot of my day and thinks they know what’s best for my children. Ha!
I feel SO incredibly lucky to have a mother, a mother-in-law, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, friends and even Instagram friends who show me every day what it means to be a Mother in their eyes. What a blessing to have a multitude of different women in my life who all show me in their own uniquely different ways, how to love, care and protect my children. I draw bits and pieces from their examples and use them for the betterment of MY family. What a gift!
What the definition of Mother fails to mention is that Moms, like everyone, can make mistakes. We’re not perfect and we’re pretty much always exhausted so, at times, we may make a snap decision to bribe our child with candy to make them stop a tantrum in the middle of the makeup aisle at Target. And, you know what, that’s ok. You know why? Because in the grand scheme of life, our kids will still feel loved, cared for and protected if we make THAT our ultimate priority.
So to all you moms out there, let’s try and cut each other a little slack. We all know how tough motherhood is, how emotionally draining it can be AND most importantly, we’re all human. We’re trying to do the best we can to give our children the best life possible and let’s be honest, we put enough pressures on ourselves as it is. Remind each other that soon after that tantrum at Target ends, our kids will give us a giant bear hug that tells us that we’re doing ok at this Motherhood thing after all. These tough moments will soon pass. In the meantime, if there is anything we can do for each other to make those tough times of Motherhood a little easier, let’s try to do it. Send that text to a friend who is having a rough Mom day, show the mom at the checkout line whose child is having a tantrum that you care by helping to put her groceries on the conveyer belt, or maybe take a minute to actually listen to a mom who needs her friend. Let’s support one another, even in the smallest of ways! After all, we’re all in this together and if there was a manual with all the perfect ways to do this thing called Motherhood, I’d be the first one to order it off of Amazon Prime, trust me!
~This is My Life After Littles