Writing a Mother’s Day post should not be hard for someone like me. After all, I am a SAHM, and my primary responsibility, day in and day out, is to be a mother to my children. But it is a struggle to put into words the jumbled mix of thoughts that come to mind when I think of Mother’s Day.
First off, I want to wish every mother out there a Happy Mother’s Day. It does not matter if you are a biological mother, an adoptive mother, a stepmother, a foster mother, etc. You are a mother and deserve to be celebrated, not just on Mother’s Day, but throughout the year.
I was a stepmother before I became a biological mother. Stepmoms are not typically recognized on Mother’s Day unless they have biological children. Coming from a blended family myself, I just want to recognize all the under-appreciated stepmoms of the world this Mother’s Day.
No one really understands what it’s like to be a stepmom, unless you are one. There is a fine balancing act you walk every day, between being as loving and supportive as you can, but also not trying to infringe on the roles of biological mom and dad.
This year, for circumstances beyond my control, my role as a stepmom has taken on added responsibility. It has been a blessing to watch the relationship between my stepdaughter and I grow as we spend more time together.
I want her to know that I love her, and that she is as much a part of our family as my two younger biological children. Sure, I will always be “Margaret” to her and not “Mom” like with my younger two, but I want her to know that I am always there for her. If she needs someone to talk to, or a supporter, or even just a stable influence in her life, she always can come to me.
I am proud of my stepdaughter and who she is becoming, even though I cannot take much credit for how she turns out. All I can do is guide her forward.
Nothing really prepares you for becoming a mother. You can read a million books in preparation, or babysit your nieces and nephews, but it is different when you are wholly responsible for your own child. It is the hardest job in the world, but also the most rewarding. Every day I find myself both frustrated and amazed.
There is no such thing as a perfect mother. We are all flawed. But we are more alike than we are different.
All mothers have basically the same hopes and dreams for their children. They want their children to be happy, and successful in whatever they choose to do with their life. They want their children to be good, moral people, well-mannered and kind.
You hope that your children will possess your best qualities, and not make the same mistakes you did. You want your children to do better and be better than you ever were.
My 18-month old and 7-month-old are with me 24-7. My days revolve around them. The hardest adjustment for me as a mother, was the realization that my life is no longer dictated by my own wants and needs, but is instead centered around theirs. Putting yourself second when you used to come first, is difficult to change overnight. I still find myself wishing I could eat what I want, when I want, or sleep when I want, for as long as I want.
But it won’t be this hard forever. My stepdaughter is 9 and is mostly independent. I long for the days when my 2 under 2 are school-age and more independent, but I know when that time arrives, I will miss the earlier days.
Such is the paradox of motherhood. You want your children to grow up so that your job is easier, but you also want them to stay small so that you will always feel needed and loved, retaining your position as the sun in your children’s lives.
Now that I understand that motherhood is the hardest job in the world, I think about my own mother, and my own childhood.
My mother’s greatest gift to me was and is unconditional love. I grew up never doubting my mother’s love and devotion to me and my two younger sisters.
Whatever instabilities arose in our life, (divorce, moving, etc.,) her love for us was constant. The bond between the four of us, mother and three daughters, remains solid to this day. There were times where it felt like it was the four of us against the world. And we survived and persevered, because that is what strong women do.
My mother was vulnerable and honest with me and my sisters. She never claimed to be a perfect parent. She owned up to her mistakes. There was always an open line of communication between mother and daughters, and I never felt like I could not come and talk to my mom about anything and everything that was on my mind.
At times, our relationship was more like four sisters or four friends, instead of the authoritative mother-daughter relationship one might expect.
My mother was a musician, who sang and played guitar, and some of my most poignant memories are of her singing and playing guitar with her daughters. Some of her favorite songs included Janis Ian’s At Seventeen, The Beatles While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Stephen Stills’ Johnny’s Garden.
Looking back, I realize these songs were somewhat melancholy for a mother to sing with her young daughters. I loved them nonetheless, because I knew how much my mom enjoyed singing the songs from her childhood. My mom’s voice is strong and pure, and I thought her voice was the most beautiful voice in the world when she sang to us.
I am no musician, and not a great singer, but I hope to continue the tradition of singing with my kids when they are older.
This Mother’s Day, take time to thank the mothers in your life. Tell them you love them and appreciate all they have done for you.
Mother’s Day is not about expensive gifts or presents; it’s about recognition. Stop and think about the countless hours your mother has spent raising you and guiding you into the person you are today. Truly, there are not enough thank-yous in the world to adequately sum up everything a mother does.
I had a wonderful mother, and following her example, I hope to be one too.