So….. it’s Mother’s Day.
I was lying in bed thinking about this last night. What does Mother’s Day mean? Is it day to call your mom, take her to breakfast, give her a card? Yes. But it’s more than that.
Being a mother is the hardest job in the world. I know– I’ve had several different jobs throughout my life, and I’m a mother. And hands down, being a mom is the hardest.
I’ve got Mila from IF YOU STAY here today to talk about this with me…. about how life changes after you become a parent. Hi Mila! Thanks for being here. And thanks for bringing baby Madelyn!
Mila: Thank you for having me. We’re happy to be here.
Me: OMG– Madelyn is so precious. Those eyes! They’re Pax through and through.
Mila (*beams*): She does look a lot like her daddy. But she’s got my dark hair.
Me: Ok. Let’s see if we can define what makes being a mother so hard. I was pondering this last night. Is it the sleepless nights when they’re young, the temper tantrums, the toilet training, the terrible twos, the teen years? Yes, definitely. But it’s so much more than that. There’s a quote that I’ve always remembered because it’s so true. Elizabeth Stone said: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Mila: Oh geez. Definitely. I never knew how much my very emotions would change once I had the baby. I mean, the level of intensity that I feel toward her is incredible. It’s like Love, on a whole new level. You literally feel like you would strangle anyone who hurts your kid with your bare hands.
Me: Exactly!! Because all the things I mentioned before are hard… the diapers, the tantrums, teenage moodiness, etc. But what is worse, in my opinion, is not being able to always protect your kid, watching them get hurt and knowing you can’t stop it. For example, having to let them go to school and sort out a ‘mean girl’ situation. Letting them figure out how to handle a bully on a playground. When they get their driver’s license, having to wait for them to call you to let you know that they arrived okay. Waiting in the living room in the dark when they’re twenty minutes past curfew, because you’re afraid that something terrible has happened. Holding them tight when their heart gets broken for the first time, because that’s all you can do. You can’t fix it, you can just be there and listen. It’s so freaking hard, harder than I ever guessed it would be. It is worrying that some kid will take a gun to school. It is worrying that someone will run a red light. It is worrying that a harness will come open on a roller coaster (Yes, I actually worry about that. Not for me, but for my kids). It’s worrying about rip tides and meningitis and flesh-eating bacteria and child molesters. I was never a worrier until I became a mother. Becoming a parent is making the conscious decision to worry about every little thing until the end of time.
MIla: You took the words out of my mouth. I was never a worrier either. I’ve always been pretty laid back. But now I understand the phrase “mama bear.” For real. Why do you think this is the case?
Me: *snorts* Why? I think it’s biological. I think we were made that way so that we can actually be good mothers. My daughter turned to me the other day and said, “mom, I know that if I was in danger, you’d be even stronger than dad in that moment, because you’ve got that mom’s instinct to protect me. I’ve heard mothers have lifted cars off their kids.” I was like, yeah, that’s about right.
Because being a mother means forever letting someone own your heart. My kids own mine in a way that no one else ever can. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s irrevocable. And in my opinion, that gives us superhuman strength when we need it.
Mila: *Nods* I agree. Not just physically, and I’m sure that I would be able to lift a car off of baby Mad if I needed to, but mentally and emotionally, too. I mean, I know there’s going to come a time when she’s a teenager when I do the hard thing and say no, and she’s going to scream that she hates me and I’ll curl up on my bed and cry. But I’ll say no anyway, because it’s the right thing for her. Mom’s have it hard. But or all the times that it’s hurtful, or worrisome, or hard, there are ten more times where it’s amazing. And worth it.
Me: I agree!! It’s rewarding and wonderful and amazing. And I’d do it all over again without a second thought. Except this time, I might have an epidural with all three of my kids, instead of just one.
Mila: Seriously? You only had an epidural with one? What is wrong with you? Are you crazy?
Me: Yes. Moving on…
How has Pax adapted to being a dad? I know this is Mother’s Day, but I can’t help but ask.
Mila: *Smiles* Pax is the best father in the world. Hands down. This baby has him wrapped around her little finger. The day she gets married, he’s going to be a blubbering mess.
Me: I saw that coming. Okay, one last thing before I let you get on with your Mother’s Day celebrations. Do you want to announce the winner of our Mother’s Day Care Package? It will include a signed copy of IF YOU STAY.
Mila: *claps* Ooooh– I hope the winner likes the book. It’s a personal favorite of mine.
Me: *rolls eyes* I think you might be a bit partial. hehe. But anyway. Draw a name from Rafflecopter, would you?
Mila: It would be my pleasure. Hold on. *Shifts baby on lap and pushes a button on my laptop, then peers at the screen over baby Madelyn’s head.* It looks like the winner is Mandy IReadIndie!
Me: *claps* Woohooo!! Mandy, email me your mailing address and I’ll send you out the package this next week. Everyone, thank you for participating. I hope everyone has a fabulous Mother’s Day, and that you get to hug your kids, and get spoiled all day long!
Mila: Me too!! Have a lot of chocolate, then wine tonight. You deserve it!!