Being a mom isn’t easy. It’s a choice, every day, to love someone or many someone’s, more than you love yourself. As a child, you don’t understand the sacrifices that your mother makes for you. It doesn’t matter if your mom was rich or poor, worked or didn’t work, there were, and are, daily sacrifices for every mommy. If you were born to your mom, there were the sacrifices that she made while pregnant. For some moms, those sacrifices aren’t too big…not drinking alcohol, not eating fish from Ohio Rivers and lakes and making sure to drink milk. For other moms, it’s monitoring blood sugar, being on bed rest or delivering early to save a life. For moms who choose to adopt, it’s weeks and months and sometimes years of searching until they found you…that baby boy or girl or 8 year old or teenager who was destined to be their son or daughter. For every mom, there is sacrifice. WE allow our hearts to walk outside our bodies, knowing that they will never come back to being totally protected and cocooned by our arms.
I didn’t realize what I was getting into when I first became a mom. I was 19 and naïve. All I knew was that I had always wanted to have babies and be someone’s mommy. I know that I was made to be a mother. Not just because I give birth so easily (as some have pointed out), but because I never wanted anything or anyone as much as I wanted my three babies. I love my family. I love my own mom. I have loved and lost and I am lucky to love right now but I have never loved anyone as much as I love my children. The love of a parent cannot be explained and for those of you who don’t have kids, it’s okay not to understand it and it’s not a flaw or problem. It’s the simple truth that to create, raise, nurture people that you love more than life and who won’t say thank you for many, many years.
That’s the truth about being a mother. We do everything for our kids and they don’t understand or realize what we are doing until they have kids of their own…or are at least mature adults. We are spit on, pooped on, definitely peed on, thrown up on, yelled at, told that they hate us, cried on, slept on, drawn on, had our buttons pushed on purpose, and always expected to be there when they need us. And we are…because we are Mom. That’s what we do.
I share stories of my children all of the time. Whether it’s Markus being a biter when he was two or Tre’ having chronic ear infections and ADD or Angelina refusing to go potty after I stopped nursing, I am talking about my kids. My oldest will be 19 this year, my middle one will turn 16 and my baby is almost 13, and I still share their birth stories. For me, they happened yesterday and lifetimes ago, all at the same time. I used to laugh at my grandma Roe for telling stories of me as a child. Now I nurture those stories. Every time I eat butter pecan ice cream, I hear her voice telling me the story of how Grandpa Bob and she found a pecan in my mouth when I was two that I had hidden from them. I get it now, Grandma. Those stories are us. My stories are my kids. We are not only built by genetics and experiences, but we are also built by our stories, our parents’ stories and our grandparents’ stories.
Being a mom is not for everyone and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that you are selfish or self-absorbed. Being a mom is hard work with little monetary reward. Actually, you will spend more money than you ever thought possible on things that single people have no idea exist. Those Christmases when you go through 100 stores to find the exact Barbie or action figure or video game because that is what your child asked for or those birthdays when you call every bakery to find one that can make the right cake with the right colors for Tinkerbell, not just another generic one. Or those times when you are a single mother asking the guy at the athletic store what kind of cup to get your teenage football player son. (And yes, I had to do that.) Moms do these things because this is what we do. We do the things that no one else will for our children because they are our children.
I am a mom. I have three beautiful, intelligent children who have made me the most miserable in my life and the happiest….sometimes in the same day. It’s not that they are bad or mean or that I don’t want them. It’s because they are growing up and standing up and finding their own way and that’s not always easy and it’s not always pretty and it’s not always pain-free. But it’s worth it. I may not always like what my children do, but I always, always love them. They are my children.
My children have also given me more than I could ever ask for and daily, I thank God for them. My oldest has to choose the hardest path to find his way, but I do see him getting stronger and more independent every day, besides looking more and more like his dad with short dark hair and deep blue eyes. (Good thing my ex was cute.) My middle one is finding his spirituality and wants to give back to the world. He is on a quest to be a better person. I am in awe of how mature he seems, almost overnight. I am also in awe of how he is a physical mix of my grandmother and his paternal grandmother with my brother’s long, lean limbs. My youngest is my baby girl who this year leaves childhood behind and becomes an official teenager. She is outgoing and friendly and loves to be the center of attention. Though she is mirror image, she is the better version of me. I would do anything for these three, including sometimes, not doing anything. They are my world and my cross and my joy to bear. I wouldn’t change a thing…because I am their Mom.