Being a Mom is Hard – Ten Reasons I Know It’s Worth It

Annie, Mom and Jackson circa 2007

Being a mom is hard.
Period.

I’m not just talking about juggling schedules, funding activities, getting three square meals on the table, encouraging personal hygiene such as daily baths (but mooommmmm, I took one yesterday!) and making sure the countless number of forms are turned into school on time. (Although this is a big part of being a mom!)

I’m talking about the way you put your own heart out there when you send your kids into the world each day. How much it hurts when you know your child is hurting. How bittersweet it is to see your kids grow up and get bigger each day – knowing certain phases of their life (and cuteness!) will never return.

Annie is nearing the end of her preschool “career” this spring and will be starting kindergarten in the fall and Jackson will be in 4th grade. I’ve been really aware of what their growth means to me when I see moms with babies and toddlers at the store or in church or at the YMCA….shuffling bottles, diapers, blankies and pacifiers. I thought as long as I had a little girl in preschool, I’d still be part of that new mommy club. But I’m not. And I’m happy (think of all the extra money I save on diapers alone!) But I’m sad. As my kids get a little older, they also get a little more independent and I worry. Am I still needed? Do they still adore me? Can I still protect them?

I mean, it’s been a long time since my nine-year-old told me that I was his princess and that he wanted to marry me and even my five-year-old daughter kind of rolls her eyes at me when I say something dorky. (I’m just waiting for the “Ma-THER. Pleeezzze!) phase.

But even though she’s not an infant or toddler, Annie is still little and I know she needs me. She came home from preschool upset recently because they were working on learning how to set up and eat their lunches on their own because in kindergarten they won’t have someone there to do everything for them. She was worried because she couldn’t quite get the Capri Sun straw out of the plastic wrapper and puncture the pouch. I told her not to worry, that we would work on it together and the other day when she did it all by herself – she couldn’t wait to tell me all about it.

And even though Jackson would rather play baseball with his friends then watch a movie about princes and princesses with me, I know that he still needs me when at night when it’s quiet we talk about what happened at school that day and he shares the little things that bother him, or make him happy. I get a chance to give him advice and support him. But mostly I just listen – and I know that means a lot to him.

One thing that we all like to do together as a family is go to the movies. We go to the movies A LOT! In preparation for the March 11th release of the movie, “Mars Needs Moms,” (and to remind myself that no matter how old my kids get, they’ll always need and love their mom!) I’ve compiled the top ten things I think Annie and Jackson would miss most about me if I was abducted by aliens!

1. Long drives.
It started when the kids were babies and couldn’t sleep unless they were riding in the car and just kind of never stopped. From time to time, we love to go on car rides with no particular destination in mind. Often it’s after a long week of going in a hundred directions. After it’s dark, we’ll get in our jammies and take a ride around surrounding neighborhoods, looking at houses we like and just talking about our day. It’s a chance to calm down and reconnect. And our kids love it even more then we do!

2. Involvement.
I’ve made it a point since the kids were little to be involved at their schools. I’m lucky because I work at home that I have some flexibility to be up at the school during the day to volunteer in the library, classroom, etc. I’ve been homeroom mom for Jackson several years, on the board of Annie’s preschool, the chairperson of several events, den mom of Jackson’s cub scout group. I know their teachers well and what goes on during the day. It means a lot to Jackson and Annie that I’m part of their lives in this way.

3. Unconditional Love.
There have been times in my life when I have felt that I had to earn the love I received from people in my life. I don’t want my kids to ever feel like that so even though I make a million parent-related mistakes each day – I make it a point to tell my kids that I do and will love them no matter what. I can be angry at their actions or behavior, but that never means I don’t love them.

4. Have fun.
I try not to take myself too seriously (even though I’m really competitive!) and I try to carve out time for fun for my kids to act silly and just play. We don’t have a big (if one at all!) fund for vacations and entertainment so sometimes that means just riding bikes around the neighborhood or playing a board game in the living room.

5. Pray before dinner.
When Jackson was a toddler we let him come up with our family prayer and we say it every night before we eat. It’s simple…we hold hands and say “Dear God – thank you for this food, thank you for this family. Amen” and then we clap. It centers us and reminds us of two very special things we have that others don’t that we shouldn’t ever take for granted. I like that it came from my son’s heart. I think it means a lot to him that we still care enough to say it every night.

6. Character Band-aids.
Sometimes even boo-boos that don’t bleed need band-aids and while I’ve cut corners in other ways over the years I always spring for the deluxe band-aids…you know, the ones with strawberry shortcake or power rangers on the. My kids know that no matter how old they are, I’ll always have a band-aid for them…”they good ones!”

7. Books.
I’m a sucker for books. I almost never say no when Annie or Jackson ask me to buy them a book. I can’t help it. I remember how much books meant to me growing up, especially a trip to the library or book orders at school. I encourage my kids to read, hoping they’ll love books as much as I do. And we read often at night together.

8. Art.
I’ve always encouraged my kids to get dirty and dive into play-dough, paint or markers. I think coloring out the lines is good and that purple trees and green cats on a drawing are beautiful. I hope that my kids learn later from this that taking chances and being different is ok – but for now I know that just like that I don’t get angry if they get paint on the floor!

9. Traditions.
I remember certain things from my childhood that still mean a lot to me now. Things we did often. Things I could count on. Summer trips to the mountains where my grandfather grew up. Sunday dinner at my grandma’s house at noon. Notes from Santa on Christmas morning. I try to do things for my kids that make holidays and every day special. Little things like telling them “life is good” before they leave for school to opening one present on Christmas Eve before they go to bed….I’m hoping some of our family traditions stick and become traditions of their own someday.

10. Home.
There’s a song called “home” by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes. I love the lyrics “Home, please take me home. Home is wherever I’m with you.” I think I’ve made “home” a comfortable and safe place for my kids. That they feel supported and loved and protected by the four walls of our home and the arms of their parents. When things get bad (someone bullies them at school or they don’t make the team), I want them to know they can always come home and be around people that love them. I hope that’s what I’m creating. I hope it’s how I’m making a difference. I hope it’s what they love most.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Karen says:

    I can't tell you how moved I was by this post. It's a reminder to all of us that we love our children and do the best we can for them. You are a great mom! Keep this handy for the days that you're not feeling that way. Good job!!

  2. 2
    Michelle says:

    A little late on the comment here, but as the mom of "kids" ages 23, 20 and 17, I can tell you they still need you. I've been house-hunting with Numba 1 Son, helped Mr. Middle Dude with career planning and well, can I tell you how much support a young woman preparing for college needs from mom? It's a totally different type of parenting, and I still get the eye-rolls (I actively cultivate them, actually), but it is rewarding to help these young adults face the world. My hands may be a bit more empty, but my heart is still very full.

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