Mothering Sunday is what Mother’s Day is called in the United Kingdom. How fitting, that it is a verb and not a noun. Celebrating the noun is not really the object here. It’s celebrating the verb of mothering.
Because mothering, the verb, never ends.
This past year the pandemic has been a unique time for mothering. I was mothering in excess. Mothering and teaching and working all at once. Back when I stayed home with my first child for almost two years, I was solely mothering. When I went back to work I was working and mothering, and I was actually a happier and much better person, even after our son arrived and I had to learn how to work and mother two. Never have I mothered, worked, and taught all at once — except for this past year. Of course, as mothers we are always teaching, we just aren’t always getting graded on it in Microsoft Teams. We are here for the war, not the short battle. And a battle it is every day. An exhausting one.
It is easy to mother when it’s easy. I know that’s obvious. When they’re cute and cuddly in their pajamas, sleepy and sweet, when they’re telling each other “I love you, sissy!” when they say “I love you, Mama.” That’s the easy part. That’s the part that makes it all worth it. Mothering is 15% cute and cuddly and 85% hard. Hard as F. It’s the 85% no one tells you about. The endless crying, the bickering, the screaming, the exhaustion. The physical pain and mental load. The why did I think this was a good idea? I haven’t read a book in years, I just want to be able to make plans without a babysitter. I can’t do a damn thing I want to do anymore, ever. I am sick of putting them first, all of the time, every second of the day.
I know it goes fast. But when you’re stuck at home with them 24/7 for weeks on end during a pandemic, or you’re just trying to enjoy being a stay-at-home mom, or trying to balance it all as an office mom, Why did I think this is a good idea? comes up a lot.
Every other minute, actually.
Surely there’s a reason. Surely the 15%, in the end, outweighs the 85%, even though that seems mathematically impossible.
Do my children make me a better person? Yes. A thousand times. I have never given up so much for someone so small and so unable to return the favor. Am I now able to care for others in a way I didn’t know how before I had them? Yes. Is it now possible for me to love others for who they are, not who I want them to be? Yes. Can I forgive others much more easily? Yes. Do I feel like a complete failure every day? Yes.
And yet they love me. With all my faults, inability to guess what the correct thing to say is, lack of time, clear frustration with them, confusion and tiredness, all they want is me.
This is astounding. No one forgives so much and loves so unconditionally as a child does.
It is the only reason I haven’t walked out the door some days.
Love is the reason.
What a gift I’ve been given.