As I prepared to write a Mother’s Day post about how much I love my mom and how much I love to be a mom, I read a very interesting article. The article was about being a “motherless mother.” I have never heard that phrase and it really got me thinking. The phrase “motherless mother” can be a variety of moms. It can be mothers who lost a mother, had an absent mother, a mentally ill mother, a narcissistic mother and more. The baggage that a daughter has from being a motherless mother and becoming a mother must be huge. How do you be the best you can be when you’ve had a bad example or not one at all? The fears, the doubts and the lack of support must mold a mother into something new.
Although I know many motherless mothers, I can say that all of them have become wonderful mothers in their own right. I know that many continue the cycle and that the cycle is circular for a reason. But in my case, I have seen the motherless mothers in my life thrive. I don’t see what happens behind closed doors, I don’t see how they feel inside and I don’t see all those moments that their mothers aren’t there. What I do see is a mom that loves her son or daughter despite her past. A mother that tries, sometimes fails and tries again. Being a mom has no answers and not having someone to call for advice has got to be hard! I have seen my motherless mother friends surround themselves with a different type of family. Grandmas, sisters, friends, aunts, mother in laws, and neighbors all stand in for the motherly role. Their children are surrounded with love and strong women despite and created by the absence.
On the flip side of this, I have been blessed with the most amazing, selfless, wonderful mother in the world! (Cue her tears as she reads this and mine while I write.) I have had migraines since I was 5 and been sick basically forever. My mom has never stopped helping me. She has been to countless appointments, paid countless bills, read and searched out hundreds of possible treatments and above all sat with me while I suffered. Now, as a mother, thinking of how it must have been to see me in the hospital, hysterical, sad, helpless, and in pain when she couldn’t take it away must have been torture. I always felt guilty for how much I needed her but have learned that she really needed me just as much. I now realize her sacrifice is even more than I ever imagined. She has never judged me for my decisions and has guided me to make the best choices I can. She has eased the pain of growing up and growing old. Having the comfort that my mom is on my side has allowed me to go through life with confidence I would not have had otherwise.
My house was always the place to go. My mom was not only a mom to my sister and me, she was a mom to our friends and whoever we brought home. They freely opened our refrigerator and helped themselves to the always stocked food. They brought home homemade candy at Christmas and sat and talked with my mom in the kitchen laughing and getting advice for themselves. She was at every game (and I played a lot of sports), she woke me up every morning (and I am not a morning person) and she volunteered for every event at school. Her love stopped me from doing a lot of what my peers experimented with. She was strict, knew where I was at all times and knew all my friends and their parents. It would have been possible for me to rebel, like so many do, but with the way she showed me love, I never wanted to. I have gone through life never wanting to disappoint my mom. If I am a fraction of the mom that my mom is, I can die knowing they got the best.
Although I already have the best, I added another mother to my life. Somehow I hit the lottery with moms in my life and marrying my husband meant getting another fabulous mom. My mother in law is the mother to my husband that my mom is to me. I give her credit for molding the man of my dreams. He respects women, is affectionate and works hard all because of her example. She now mothers us both. Over the years she has seen and learned how much I deal with. I am not an easy person to understand because of my illness and she has been willing to learn, help and rearrange her life to be our mother. I am so lucky to have the best mom and add another that goes above and beyond for her children. My children have grandmothers that spoil them and women that teach them lessons that I could not do alone.
And now for the reason I breathe the air I breathe………my babies. All I ever wanted to be was a mom. With a role model like mine, how could I not want to spread that love? My husband and I decided even before we were married that I would stay home with them if it was possible. I am educated and experienced in both early childhood education as well as special education. If anyone was raising our babies, we wanted it to be me. With that said, it is still so so so hard. I dropped everything in my life to raise my babies and although it was difficult to find balance, it is a choice that none of us will regret. I will never look back on my life and think “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time with them, I should have been somewhere else.” I am exactly where I should be, with them. I am hugely underpaid, underappreciated, overworked, and over triggered. They literally make me sick from their meltdowns, lack of sleep, crazy diet, and abundance of energy (Where does it come from? I’m so tired!)
No matter how many migraines I have, the motivation from my two human beings is endless. I look at their faces that came from my body and I fight harder. The tiny chub hand of my son in mine is my payment. The huge snuggles that my daughter only gives me is my medicine. The belly laughs of them enjoying an event I have taken them to is my salary. They wear me down while building me up to heights I didn’t know I could soar to. I’m so proud over the littlest things and my heart pounds for their future endeavors. Being a mom is the greatest responsibility I will ever have and I take it very seriously. My kids don’t need to get me anything for Mother’s Day because I was given the biggest gift the day they were born. (But let’s be honest, I deserve LOTS of presents!!!!)
I may suffer daily but one thing I know is that I’m a good mom. I have given my kids 110% since the day I found out I was pregnant. I now see what being a mother is and it’s HARD! I give and give and they take and take and I give some more. I have doubt in myself, even with having the best role model. I have days I fail, I have days I lay in bed with a migraine and feel helpless, I have days that I don’t feel like a good mom, and I have days where I raise my voice. The guilt I feel for having chronic migraines is a heavy burden. I am slowly seeing that even that will somehow benefit my kids. I don’t speak a lot about what I deal with but when my children see me sick, they have compassion and the love I show them is reciprocated. They will learn to be independent, care takers and value their health because of me. They will see that their mom is in pain yet is such a fighter! I hope that they will be proud of me. When I’m down I remind myself that it’s a marathon. My kids will never stop needing me and tomorrow is another day. I need my mom as much today as I did growing up and I will do the same for my kids.
In conclusion…..Happy Mother’s Day! To all you motherless mothers, mothered mothers, mothers being the best mothers they can be, mothers that suffer, mothers that are alone, mothers that have found motherly figures and more. It’s not a pretty job, it’s not clean job, it’s not an easy job, it’s not a job everyone can stay home and do. It’s hard for everyone! But in the end…….it’s the best job!