Dear Mom, Mum, Mama. You are so precious to your family and no one in the whole world can replace you.
Your Motherhood flows into every corner of your family home. Like a beautiful fragrance, or wonderful oil in the machinery of your family’s life. All those simple ordinary things you do impact the well being of your family in a major way. It isn’t about being brilliant or being a super-mum. It’s about just being you – just being there – and it is all those little things you do. Love done in invisible and unspectacular ways is true love. You may have the odd meltdown and if you are like me you feel you fail in so many ways, but you are as precious as pure gold in your family.
Yes Dads are equally precious and awesome but this is about Mothers. A lot of what we Mamas do is a bit invisible but the whole of society depends upon the existence of families, and families depend upon Mamas!
Mamas; we are all in this together so lets celebrate all the little things we do.
The simple things are the beautiful things. Here are some of them for us to contemplate.
You make sure that the house is always stocked with the most crucial life items like bread, cheese, milk, first aid, soap and toilet paper. Not glamorous but oh so necessary. The rest of the family thinks they get there by magic, or that they just never run out.
You pair up all the kids socks. Several times a week. The cute ones and worn ones. You put the rest in a lonely-socks bag for matching later. You actually know whose socks are whose! You can’t get over how many lonely socks there are. You literally cheer when you find a partner for a lonely sock. Sometimes its not exactly an exact match… but getting the washing sorted means the world continues to spin for your tribe.
When summer comes you actually know the needs of each of the tribe. Who needs new bathers, who needs new goggles, who needs a beach towel, summer shoes, t-shirts etc. It is pretty amazing actually. You manage, you plan, you organise, you hunt and gather.
You often call the kids by the wrong names and they do get a bit irritated with that. Then you start calling them all endearments like darling, sweetie or my awesome son and then you never get it wrong. Smart mom. They always feel special.
Husband is really stressed because he needs a particular document for something. After searching for an hour he asks you and you know exactly where it is. It may be something like ‘in the green folder, left hand side of blue files, under the white shelf, behind the plant, in the living room’. Moms have photographic memory of where a million things are in the house at any one time. Except our own sunglasses. Which are on our head.
When you move from room to room you pick up the coffee cups and glasses and get them back to the kitchen. You hardly even realise you do this but when you see it portrayed on movies you recognise that ‘mum thing’!.
You have a radar with all your kids on but if you have more than three kids then (in any given moment) one or more may have fallen off the mum-radar. Although you are a mother (almost superhuman) it’s still pretty hard to keep more than 3 on the radar.
When one of your kids hasn’t been sighted on your radar for a minute / an hour / a week (depending on the age of child) you feel pretty uneasy and are compelled to go find out where they are. When out you constantly count 1,2,3.. to make sure you know where each of the kids are. When they all move out and there’s only one left at home, you still count ‘1’.
You know the household routines and activities like the back of your hand. Much of your energy goes on getting the kids out the door on time to get them from A to B to K back to A and then to Q. It’s pretty crazy and sometimes you may be reduced to a rant or scream from the panic and pressure of the exit moment. But we generally manage to get everyone to their destinations. 37 times a week. How extremely blessed are our kids to have someone helping them get to all these places?!
You may have a stash of chocolate or wine in your pantry for survival moments. Quite essential.
You sometimes suddenly know instinctively what not-great thing your son or daughter (of any age) has been up to. They are freaked out you just know. Very powerful in the teen years. You hear your kids whispering to each other ‘How does she just know?!’.
If you go away for a few days the house gets all out of shape. Stuff piles up on surfaces and ends up in weird places. The family are stunned at how much you actually do. (Going away at least once a year is highly recommended.) They are tired though from doing all that you normally do and you discover the recycling bin is full of takeaway pizza boxes.
You can walk into the room when your baby is asleep and you just know by some deep primal instinct what stage of sleep they are in: just fell asleep / in deep sleep / about to wake up. You just know if at that particular moment they’ll be woken by the faintest whisper or sleep through you vacuuming the room.
Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and you just know you have to go check on a particular child. Often there is a valid reason. E.g. they fell out of bed, thank you God for the wake-up. But sometimes its just that mama-paranoia. Sigh.
You almost wouldn’t mind eating the exact same food every dinner, all month, if it meant meal times could be easier. However you serve up all kinds of good things. Every night. All year. All decade. Except when someone else cooks of course and that is BLISS.
You are pretty good at bad cop and good cop and you and husband swap around sometimes. If daughter feels unwell and looks like she needs to stay in bed, bad cop Dad says you’ll be fine, get up and go to school. Good-cop Mama feels so sorry for her and says stay in bed and brings her a cup of tea. Teenage daughter might have really flexible boundaries from good cop Dad, but bad cop Mum is tough as she can read her mind and remember her own teen self.
You sometimes get a chance to vacuum and the dust and spiders get blitzed away. After a few years Legos no longer count in the category of things that do not blitzed away. Once in a blue moon you even get a chance to mop. Wow that mop water is brown. Oh well. Its extremely awesome that someone cleans the house, without even being payed.
You have some kind of system for keeping track of all the school and sporting events. Maybe you have a whiteboard (your external brain) or maybe you have a calendar on the fridge. It may not be understandable to anyone but you but no one else matters as they rely on you to know the date and time of everything.
You have a mini-van or a large SUV. Year after year you patiently endure the invasion into your car of crumbs, wrappers, library books, wet towels and empty juice boxes. Your van is the way you get the tribe EVERYwhere. It is on the road much of the day. You deserve a medal, but what you dream about is the day you will get a small zippy woman-car. One with zero crumbs, wrappers, wet towels.
When that day finally finally comes you are so excited to get a small car. No one is allowed to leave even a crumb in the car and you glance at the back seat after every car ride. You literally love your (clean) woman-car. Passionately. But now you are letting your teen drive it, and you feel faint as they miss poles and other cars and trees by a mere c.m. You bravely and patiently let them learn to drive in your prized possession. You deserve another medal Mama!
You got a dog for the kids since they begged and begged. They promised to feed it and walk it and wash it. After a while they forget and you feel frustrated. You also feel sorry for the dog so you feed and walk him. It is frustrating, but you and the dog grow closer. When the kids grow up and move out and it is way too quiet, you and the dog cry together. You actually couldn’t get through it without him.
When the kids are all young it feels like this messy noisy crazy exhausting life will go on forever and you and your husband don’t know how you will do it. How on earth will you live this life. Some nights you both just lie down and fall asleep on the bed in your clothes, teeth unbrushed. You are that exhausted. And the next minute it is morning.
But then one day you stand in a quiet room and it hits you: they have moved out! It happened that fast while you blinked. How on earth…! And it is so tidy and still. Too tidy and still. It is just you and dear husband and dear dog. And the plants.
And then you are so glad for every minute you spent with them and how you put up with all that mess and noise and chaos. You are so glad for the days you didn’t run but sat with them. You are glad for the times you did special little things for them, or just made sure everyone ate and got some sleep. You are glad you got up in the night and left your warm bed to check them. You are glad for every minute you did motherhood with your children. The memories are so precious they can make your heart ache. Those children were a true gift from God.
Beautiful beautiful motherhood.