(This is Day 14 post of my 31 Days to Loving Your Family Series from October 2011.)
If you google “Mother”, THIS is what you’ll find.
A massive wall of mothers lovingly cooing with and cuddling newborns, interspersed with way too many photos of Mother Theresa. If you look at this page of images for more than 10 seconds you suddenly get a sinking feeling that you don’t quite measure up. In fact, it’s almost intimidating enough to send you to confession or a therapist at the very least! Since I’m 11 years removed from all the romantic hype of squishy little baby thighs and adoring coos I guess I’ve forgotten the beauty of motherhood and how truly miraculous it is. Which is sad, because there really are moments of beauty. They just don’t look like that! They come in the unexpected hugs from teens, the laughter at dinner tables and the praying together for peace, harmony and unity. Sadly, those moments are far too few these days.
My kids are more likely to see this:
Oh ya, that’s cute. NOT!
One of the hardest things about mothering is not being perfect. Yep. That’s really it. Before kids, and even when I had my babies , I always hoped and prayed I wouldn’t be one of “those” mothers~ the exasperated, sweat pant wearing , toilet-paper hanging out of my pants, annoyed with kids mothers in the grocery store who clearly hasn’t got a clue how horrid she looks! But some days, I fear, that is what I have been reduced to. Stress, fatigue, failure.
And the worst thing about this whole reality I find myself in, is that the kids won’t forget. You know, when they’re little, you’re safe with the knowledge that they won’t remember the days you didn’t wear a bra, or didn’t shower, or cried about everything. But no, not when they’re teens. The reality now is that my kids frequently refer to my “bad days”~ the screaming, the disheveled look, the rants and lectures, the lame suppers and unfinished to-do lists~ it’s all put out there for them to see and remember. I am that mom that sitcoms were created around. I am the mom whom cartoonists gleefully draw their way to a big , fat paycheque.
But I will take solace in this one fact: they can’t do anything about it. THEY~ my children, are stuck with me! It’s the beautiful, ugly truth~ the rich irony~ the payback for sleepless nights, poopy diapers, temper tantrums and puke. I may not be pretty, but they still have to love me!
Incidentally, when you Google “mothers”~ there’s only pictures of young moms with little babies . Hmmm. Interesting. And when you google “frazzled, angry or mean” mothers, there’s more older kids than babies in the pictures. Oh, and WAY more cartoons~ ladies, this is because we wouldn’t be caught dead photographed looking insane. There are still some things sacred, even on the internet.
If you want a softer, gentler, more encouraging post about motherhood, then read this from Gypsy Mama