What It Means to Be a Mother
When I was asked to write an article about what it means to be a mother, I have to admit, I panicked a bit. How do you answer a question that has a million answers?
Motherhood encompasses every area of a woman’s life. It changes the way you think about yourself, your family, your friends, and the world at large. It changes the way you look at life, the way you reflect, and the way you act and react. It teaches you to examine things you never gave a second thought to before delivery, and to question the things you always thought were right and true.
Motherhood is a beautiful ride, a wild ride, and the most incredible journey you will ever take, beginning the day the “plus sign” appears in the window and ending, well, never.
I knew my life as a mother would change drastically; and yet, I had no idea at all.
What does it mean to be a mother? These mothers share their answers; and I think you’ll find, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
What is most amazing to me about being a mother is how often the role changes. Being the mother of an infant is not at all the same as being the mother of a toddler. And being the mother of a first-grader is nothing like being the mother of a middle-schooler. Just when you think you have the role down, it changes suddenly, sometimes with no warning. What this has meant for me is that I am constantly growing and changing, challenging myself to new ways of thinking and being. It's as if my children are constantly shaping me, adjusting me, testing me, just as I shape, adjust, and test them. Our family is so dynamic as we press and pull on each other. There is no time for stagnancy. Sometimes it feels as if there is no time to breathe. And then, suddenly, there is time to breathe, just for a second. And so you breathe. You take it all in. You admire everyone's present state of life. And then you dive down again, into the rush of life, change, challenge. I never understood how exhilarating the ride would be – and how I would be so constantly changed by the whole experience.
– Julie, mother of 3
Being a mom can be translated into: “Professional-juggler-in-a-traveling-three-ring-circus-with-a-trapeze-side-show-for-a-kicker.” As Mothers, we take multi-tasking to a new and insane level. For those of us who transitioned from the corporate world, our bonus checks are now paid to us in sticky PB&J kisses covered with marshmallow hand prints, and those of us who have left our parents' home for our spouse's home, well, guess Who's the Boss now! My life moves at the speed of a toddler on some days and at the speed of a saxophone on others, and I wouldn't change a second. What does it mean to be a mom? It means the world.
– Dallas Louis, author of “The Mommy Diaries: How I’m Surviving Parenting without Killing Anyone” (May 2012)
When our kids get older and they inherently do things that make us cringe or at least shake our heads, my first reaction was to overreact and internalize (Oh my God, what did we do wrong to bring up a kid that would act this way….) But, I've changed my mind. Kids, especially young adults, are influenced by so much more than their parents. At this stage of the game, my influence is minor, but my role is still major. I love both kids unconditionally. AND my motto these days is, “if it's not going to matter in 6 months….. it doesn't matter”. I think this is a modified “don't sweat the small stuff.”
-Judy, mom of two adult children