I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of Mother’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the breakfast in bed and the chocolate as much as the next mom, but Mother’s Day always leaves me feeling like I’m just not quite good enough. My kids are still young enough that they think I’m absolutely amazing no matter what I do. They think I’m beautiful in the morning with the previous day’s makeup smeared underneath my eyes. They think I’m smart when I tell them the names of animals at the zoo. They think I’m funny when I take pictures of my food before I eat it. I fear my days are numbered though. Right now, they think I’m better than I am. I wonder how long it’s going to take them to start seeing my faults.
I have to remind myself to take advantage of this stage in life. As a work at home mom, I’m constantly multi-tasking. My sweet 2 year old often comes up to me while I’m working with his arms out and says “Mommy, I hold you.” I know that one day he’ll be grown and my arms are going to ache to hold him, but that doesn’t usually prevent me from feeling frustrated that I have to have a stop and go work schedule through the day as I attend to my children’s needs.
I still remember that feeling I had after my first son was born. I spent my entire maternity watching him. I watched him sleep at night and I held him as he napped during the day, despite all the encouragement I had to sleep while the baby slept, and those are some of my sweetest memories. I often miss those feelings I had of being a new mother, when I could so clearly see the miracle that my children are. As my children grow and become their own person I’m shocked at how quickly the time has gone by.
For mother’s day this year I got a purse. This was a big deal for me. It meant that my diaper bag had been retired for the first time in nearly 7 years. I only have one child in diapers now and my children are old enough that I don’t need to keep a sling in my car or drag a stroller with me everywhere I go. I’m trying to adjust to this new stage in life but I find it’s a hard one to move on from. As difficult as the early years of motherhood are, they made me happier than I had ever been in my life. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety off and on throughout my life so everyone assumed that I would be hit hard by postpartum depression. Even I was shocked when after my son was born I didn’t experience depression, but euphoria. I was so happy that there was no room for depression. Anxiety hit me hard though – and it was a new kind of anxiety. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to survive losing this magnificent creature that had come into our lives. So we bought the safest carseat we could find and I ignored many of my own needs to be sure that that baby and the ones that came after were protected. When our fourth baby passed away shortly after birth, I felt like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. I couldn’t breath. It’s been over a year now and while I understand now that it’s always going to hurt, time is a gentle friend.
This Mother’s Day, I don’t care about breakfast in bed or receiving the perfect gift. I don’t care about spending the day being exempt from diaper duty. The rather ironic thing about Mother’s Day is it’s a day that mothers are allowed to stop being mothers. This year, I don’t expect something from my husband or children. I expect something from myself. I want to find the joy that I used to find in mothering my children, before I learned to multi-task like an octopus. The world today does not lend itself to taking quiet walks with your children or spending hours baking from scratch with a little bit of extra time set aside to lick the bowl. But the reality is, most things will keep for a while. My children, on the other hand, keep growing.