I love to be called by that name…mother. Actually, it’s Mom to my kids. I love it in any form… “Mom, I’m home” or “Mom, can you pick me up?” or “Mom, can you help me?” or the not so exciting, “Mom, I don’t feel good”. On days when we are especially blessed we hear, “I love you, Mom” or the even more elusive, “Thanks, Mom”.
When the kids are young, it’s a physical job. You are sleep deprived and constantly responding to an immediate need – they are hungry, thirsty, need a diaper changed. Then when they get older, you tend to their emotional needs – they are sad, worried, or fearful. Both of these stages are equally demanding and equally exhausting. I can only imagine it gets more emotionally demanding as they go to college, get married, have jobs, have children of their own. There is no ending to this job of motherhood, just different stages.
The blessing of motherhood also carries the responsibility of motherhood. I love that word, Responsibility. It means the ability to respond. I think that sums up what being a mother means…having the ability to respond to anything…literally anything that comes up.
Physical, emotional, psychological, educational, whatever the need, we have to be experts in that field. It’s a daunting task but we rise to the occasion. I remember realizing one day that if I did not advocate for my child, who would? It was up to me. I became a warrior in the fight. I became a mother lion protecting her young. We all do. It’s universal. Mess with me, shame on you, mess with my kids…well, then we have a major problem.
We all need lots of help in our role as mother…our team may include our husband, doctors, dentists, teachers, principals, ots, pts, speech therapists, IEPs, 504 plans, optometrists, neurologists, grandmas, friends, other moms, book clubs, yoga teachers, neighbors, your parish, your co-workers. You get the idea no mom can do this alone.
I have learned so many things from my kids and one of the things I know now for sure is that I do have the ability to respond. Sometimes it takes more than just me and I can be found consulting books and my mom and the internet and doctors and wise friends and praying constantly but I’ll respond.
My prayer is that I will respond with love. Because even though our children need a lot of things, there is no thing they need more than love.
Being a mother has taught me that what they say is true…“love is the answer”, “love is all we need”, and as St. John of the Cross so famously said, “In the end, we will be judged on love.” Because no matter what else I accomplish in life, my most important job, the role that I most cherish, is the role of mother. I can mess up in any other arena but this role…this role is so precious to me, so important, so sacred, I want to do it well.
You notice I didn’t say perfectly. There is no mother that is perfect. If we make a mistake, we apologize and move on. Tomorrow there will be another chance to respond. There will be another chance to act out of love.
I want my children to understand that for all my faults, and I’m sure they’ll find many, that I loved them completely. I want them to see my love and feel my love so they can carry it with them when I have gone. I want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are my greatest blessing and my greatest joy. That through all of the emotions family life brings…laughter, pain, fear, doubt, teasing, fighting, anger, forgiveness, joy, hope, faith, trust, hurt, disappointment, worry, safety, loyalty…that LOVE is the main ingredient.
So tonight, when all of the mothers out there say, “I love you” and our children say back, “I love you too Mom”. We can rest assured we’re doing our job. We have taught them well…they too have responded with love.©2011 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved