Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful women of the world! No matter what form your motherhood may take, your role as a mother is most definitely the most important role of your life. I live and breathe being a mother to my son every day. It is my raison d’etre, if you will! Now, as most of you know, my role as a mother is unique in that I have a beautiful and precocious son and also had a daughter born still at 33 weeks old. This Mother’s Day, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about motherhood, from being a mother to a joyful soul on earth and to my angel’s soul in heaven.
Motherhood means forgiveness.
I’ve learned that it takes a lot of soul searching to forgive myself when I feel like I’ve messed up as a Mom – whether I am being tough about homework or too much TV. I know that I am not perfect, but my perfectionist ways definitely take over sometimes. And when I am not at my best self (tired, overwhelmed), it comes through in my role as Mom. But I have to forgive myself. Forgive those moments and make the next moments good ones – for me and for him. As I continue to grow through the heartbreak of my daughter’s loss, I know somewhere deep inside, I need to forgive myself for blaming myself. Does that make sense? Any woman who has lost a child knows those quiet moments when they think it’s their own fault, but it’s not. Forgiving yourself for thinking that is key.
Motherhood means pure joy.
The day my son was born, it was truly the happiest day of my life. I could not contain the smile, even in the midst of physical pain while at the hospital and learning to breastfeed, while I looked at him in my arms. My cheeks hurt from so much joy. It was the purest form of emotion I have ever felt, and I knew that because the words would escape me when I would try to describe the feeling. Even today, watching him discover something new or solve a problem, make a joke, or peek in to watch him sleeping, I am overcome with the joy that his existence in my life brings. And while I wish every day that my daughter was here with me, there is a sense of joy that I feel knowing that I have a guiding angel in my corner. I have no choice but to feel that joy, for the sorrow sometimes can be too much.
Motherhood means staying young.
As a teacher, I am surrounded by young teens who are eager to grow up and get on with their lives outside of the world of their parents. They are so quick to want to stop being young. When you’re a mother, life can be so busy that it’s easy to only wear the “grown up” hat. You can forget to play and just be “young” with your kids or find joy in the silliest things. Whenever my son and I play, I make sure I make the corny jokes, laugh the big silly laughs and make battleships with the Legos on a “stay up late” night!
Motherhood means learning from others.
I don’t think that I could have gone through those early days of being a new mom without the posse of women I found in my weekly breastfeeding group (aka “boob group” – I know!). It took all my energy to make it to my first meeting, anxious that I was the only one worrying about ruining my chances at being a great mom. But we were all worried and we all had a million questions about the baby’s weight loss, no sleep, controlling our husbands who didn’t know what they were doing (p.s. they do!), and all the other things that come with being a new mom. Those friendships are still with me today, as we often compare notes of the current status of our kid’s sassiness and how we just want to tell them where to go with their new found attitudes! Ha! I learned to let myself learn from others, that I did not have all the answers and never will. So whether it’s a new baby or one lost, I’ve learned to let myself learn from other women to be a great mom.
Motherhood means not forgetting yourself.
Remember when you didn’t take that shower to get your child ready for school since you woke up late after staying up late so you could just have a moment to yourself? Or when you gave everyone else the pretty plate of food and you took what you had burnt? Yeah, those times. We all forget ourselves for the sake of others. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. What I learned, however, is that I don’t need to forget myself to be better for others. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I need to take care of my skin, my health, my mental happiness so that I can exist as a balanced whole and happy woman as a Mom, a wife, a teacher and every other role I have in my life. While I may not always find the time to remember myself (am I right?), I learned to make it a point to schedule myself into my own calendar more often. Everyone around me will be happier I did. (Trust me!)
Thank you so much for reading this far! I wish you all a lovely day, whether you are a Mom or are celebrating yours.