Tips for Using Minky
the Woman at Target

on Celebrating my Motherhood

Yesterday I had a Mom Meltdown. You know how it goes: one random kid manages to push just the wrong random button and it was the wrong button to push for no apparent reason. Cue Mom Meltdown, which is just as ugly and devastating as a nuclear meltdown; the poison is all metaphorical, but still. And the thing is, it's not just the surrounding people who bear the damage, but the reactor, too. So I wandered through the rest of the afternoon feeling dejected and horrid and pathetic.

Then I had a chat with one of my Costco friends. (Yes, it's true: I go to Costco enough that I have friends who work there. I mean...I don't know her last name, but we talk like long-lost pals every time she gets me my food court order.) She wished me a happy mother's day and my eyes started leaking (and yes, another truth: I wore my sunglasses the whole time I was shopping for groceries so no one could see my red eyes) and we both said at the same time "I don't really like Mother's Day." Then I said, "I'm not sure anyone but the perfect mothers do" and we both laughed and I felt better.

This morning I woke up to an instant, clear thought: just celebrate your motherhood. Not because I am perfect at it—I am not. I have far too many nuclear reactor moments. My house is rarely picked up enough and I can't manage a dinner that makes everyone happy and there's almost never fresh baked cookies after school. Last week (yes, all five school days) everyone had to fish for their socks in the clean socks bucket instead of pulling them out of their drawers. My toilets need to be cleaned and I haven't taught any of my kids the habit of making their beds every day.

Actually, the list of my failures is too long to continue writing.

But I felt, with an astounding clarity, that the failures weren't the point. The successes, also, didn't matter. Instead, the prompting was simply: celebrate the fact of your motherhood. Be joyful that you were given children. Be certain that you are giving them strengths.

And so, all day, I have been thinking about that. Although I am often overwhelmed with those failures, and with feeling that I am doing far less than I am capable of, I don't want my children to think that I am not grateful to be their mom. In ways I almost don't have words for, along with stories I cannot blog about, I am grateful for my motherhood. Grateful for what it has taught me, to be sure: patience, and the boundless capabilities of love, and the sheer miraculous joy of being alive. But grateful, also, for what it has given me: these amazing children—these unique, individual people—with their strengths and personalities and dreams. I ache for them and rejoice with them and cherish them beyond everything else.

The path that brought me to motherhood was an unusual one. Things happened that created many changes in my heart. Had those hard choices not been made, I don't think I would have wanted to have children. The hard things happened in order to create that desire within me. Perhaps, had I not become a mother, I would have accomplished the other goals I had: living in a glamorous city with dozens of friends and a PhD on my bookshelf. You know—the bookshelf full of my novels. But now, knowing what I know—the sheer happiness of seeing one of them do something amazing, or that exhausted contentment when an illness finally passes, or the quiet peace of reading together—I couldn't give up what I have for any dream.

I wish I were better at it. I wish this because I want the best for them. Because I want them to never feel hurt or dejected or discouraged, especially because of me. Because I want them to stride forward into the world with certain knowledge: my mother loves me. I want that knowledge to be a strength to them. I want, more than anything, not to fail because I want them to be happy. They are the best part of my life.

I am blessed beyond belief to have become a mom, and that is what I celebrated in my heart today

Comments

wendy

I love how you celebrated today. You are beautiful, Amy. I'm glad I got to see you in passing today. You always make me smile. I love you!

Karen

oh i can totally relate to everything you are saying but most of all the part about celebrating the blessing of becoming and being a mom. i told my son yesterday the best thing he ever gave me was making me a mom. wahahaha. :D you are so good in so many ways thank you for sharing your thoughts and journeys with us. :D

Sherry

Amy,
Thank you for sharing. I can relate. I think being a good mom isn't all about cookie baking and toilet cleaning, it's about relationships. It's about being there when they fall and celebrating the highs and the lows. It's about them knowing that through anything you would be there. It's about accepting and appreciating who they are. You are real and you inspire me. Thank you!

Aud

I don't mean for this to sound harsh, so I apologize in advance if it does. But seriously woman, where are you getting your ideas about perfect motherhood????? Someone has attempted some serious brainwashing on you. Plates of cookies after school? A perfect house, laundry done all the time, meals everyone likes? Sounds like The Stepford MOMS to me. I'll be honest with you -- I don't know ANYONE who manages any of that. Because it's not real. And it's not what your kids care about either. I mean, seriously, they are not going to grow up and think "Well, my life turned out to be a total shithole because my mom didn't teach me how to make up my bed." So cut yourself some slack, Amy. Your kids have a mom that loves them beyond all reason, which in the end, is all they need. You are interested in their lives, you support them, you challenge them, you are real with them. You love them. And yes, I think that's enough. They'll be okay having to find their own socks, and they'll learn to make their beds at some point (though my theory is why bother? you're just going to mess it up again that night...) And as for the meal thing? My kids learned long ago that if you don't like what's being served, you either eat it or find something else.

Pat Passamonte

Just imagine if you were an absolutely perfect mother. You never made mistakes, the house was perfect, you provided perfect meals, you never had meltdowns, you never had bad days. I think I would pity your children. What a standard to set for them. How would they ever feel worthy, or even good enough? How would they deal with it when they came up short? Could they come to you if they had a problem? I think a good mother does her best, and helps her kids do their best. Perfection is over rated.
Happy Mothers Day!

Apryl

How do you manage to write something that I've tried so say, but so much more better? (That's right, I just wrote "more better".) You have a gift.

Isabel

What a beautiful post. Listening to my son sing Primary songs in Sacrament Meeting yesterday makes all the things I think I'm missing out on in life meaningless.

Jamie

I love the little blessed moments, the tender mercies that come that way from our Heavenly Father. The CLEAR thoughts that come amidst the guilt, fear, anxiety that we put ourselves through. The clarity that comes about what we need to focus on. I'm glad you had the moment and were able to push it to the forefront and enjoy your day and your motherhood- because it is a gift and the most important accomplishment. I think you're doing great. :) You are so real and honest with them and care so much. and you make them blankets and apple pie. what more could they ask for?

Janssen

What a fantastic post.

Also, now I need to go make some cookies, even though I have no children to eat them. . .

Shaunte

I have also learned that if you approach the day with zero expectations, then you are always pleasantly surprised...:)

Wendy

Another nerve - but one I'm learning to confront thanks to therapy.

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