Happy Mother's Day

Warning: As per the title, this is a post about honoring motherhood. If this is triggering for you in any way, please honor your needs and close this post. You're not missing much.

Perusing Facebook yesterday, I saw a post honoring pet mothers on Mother's Day. This gave me a pause to smile, appreciate the gesture, and as a pet mother myself, shake my head. While there are a few comparable traits between mothering a pet and a child such as making sure they eat healthily and get enough exercise, they are two distinct roles that require individualized honoring.

I tend to always be a little uncomfortable with the concept of Mother's Day. Here are little beings that we choose to bring into this world without their permission and then tell them they need to appreciate us. What I do think requires honoring though is those moments where we go above and beyond the call of the job of raising independent citizens.

Here is just a shortlist of things I think mothers everywhere need to be honored for:

Holding Back

I was listening to one of my family members lament how people in our family do not ever check whether the dishwasher is clean or dirty. I realized at that moment that it just does not register as an issue for me. I think mothers have had to learn in order to preserve relationships and to have them listen when we do speak that sweating the small stuff like dishwashers and toilet paper rolls is counterproductive. A well-timed comment is worth more than a steady stream of nag. Unless we're tired, then the lectures flow fluently.

Mothers everywhere are listening to their children make dramatic pronouncements about their lives knowing full well that they have just been thrust into yet another crazy ride. What they think is all about them tends to pour all over us as well, and we zip our lips, support, pay, work extra, research, and time our moments to kindly remind them that science has confirmed that the world does not revolve around them and that no one is self-made.

Allowing Natural Consequences

Having young adults now is a different type of mothering. I am no longer at liberty of telling them to put on a jacket before they go out. When my child continuously left dishes on their floor, I decided to just wait until they developed the maturity to want to take care of their space. Fortunately, I did not have to wait until they moved out. A large procession of sugar ants has had the convincing effect of creating an incredibly fastidious adult.

The one thing they do not tell you about leaving your young adult to suffer natural consequences is that the consequences often hurt you too. Because when the ants were eradicated via vacuum, the survivors in the vacuum just moved to where the vacuum was stored. A case of natural unnatural consequences.

Being On 24/7

It may not happen as often as when they were little, but I am still the go-to person for everything that happens...at whatever time it happens. Need a bird rushed to the vet an hour and a half away...I am on it. Nobody knows what to buy so and so on their birthday... here are some ideas. What are we going to have for dinner tonight...I have a menu plan. Getting mistreated by an employer or hurt by someone...another sleepiness night worrying. My brain has never been so tired.

Withholding The Guilt

When one of my children looked at me last night and asked me where their dad was going, I replied "He's going to celebrate Mother's Day with his mum." His reply, "It's Mother's Day?!" I struggle in those moments to be a better human than I want to be, but guilt never made the server and the served feel any better so I just smiled and said, "Yup, came on us quickly this year."

Though the above is tongue and cheek, it has truly been my honor to walk alongside these mothers. We make a ton of mistakes, but we learn and try to do better. And while I do not believe in the elevation of motherhood to some kind of saintly status, I love those moms whose goal is to enjoy the people they are surrounded with (most of the time) and do what they do without spending a lot of time thinking how wonderful they are for doing it (except on Mother's Day). =)

And to my own Mom, Happy Mother's Day. I just don't know how you made it through...good thing I am much easier now. =)

If a woman speaks and no one is listening, her name is probably Mom.

- Unknown

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