I’ve always thought Mother’s Day was kind of silly.
Why is there only one day out of the entire year that we shower our mothers with lavish gifts, attention and love?
Shouldn’t we honor and respect our mothers every day of the year?
After all, as my own mother so often reminded me when I?made her angry by under appreciating and overworking her, she brought me into this world and she can just as easily take me out of it.
I’ve always heard that raising children is like herding cats.
Twelve years ago, I became a mother myself. Navigating through sleep deprivation, diaper changes, feeding schedules and nap routines seemed sometimes like a thankless undertaking. I’ll admit it; after the birth of my son, Mason, I had an indescribable ache for the person I was before I?had him. The tremendous responsibility of caring for a total dependent human being was, at times, completely overwhelming.
No one ever tells you that after you give birth your independence and freedom vanish.
For example, shortly after Mason was born, I?was home from work on maternity leave feeling a little envious that my husband got to leave the house five days a week to go to work and talk to other adults. I felt chained to the house, a carseat, feeding and nap schedules.
I decided I?should get some of my errands out of the way, but couldn’t quite place my finger on the reason that I?hadn’t thought of that before.
I grabbed my purse and the car keys and backed the car out of the garage when I realized I had forgotten something.
My precious baby was in his room napping, unaware that his own mother just about left the house without him! I was mortified and felt like a terrible mother.
I put the car back in the garage and tiptoed into the house, as if Mason would suspect I almost forgot him if I wasn’t quiet. I called my Mom to tell her about what I?had almost done.
“A baby changes everything,” was what she told me.
Not exactly the consoling I was looking for, but it got me thinking.
I was feeling bound to the house, the car seat and a day care provider; For a while, it felt like prison. There was no such thing as doing anything “quickly” anymore. My somewhat organized life was thrown into a state of emergency disaster. I went from working and keeping my house clean to waking up for nightly feedings and diaper changes, trying to keep the house picked up and keeping feeding schedules, diaper changes and naps in order.
But then I?began to feel guilty for feeling like I was “bound” to these things. Having a baby was too rewarding to feel like he was putting a damper on my life.
Even more indescribable was how it felt to hold him for the first time, to see his eyes open for the first time, to see him smile for the first time, bring him home for the first time and all the “first times”?I?still had to look forward to.
Fast forward 12 years. The person who made me a mother is entering puberty. He reminds me of the many ways I?have fallen short of his expectations of me. My happy, chubby baby with kissable cheeks has morphed into a 12-year-old smart talking, independent, push the boundaries, adolescent.
Gone are the days when he was happy to see me just because I am Mom.
The feelings of imprisonment have returned. This time I am bound by the emotional turmoil of puberty when my sons mind and body are suddenly not recognizable to anyone, including himself.
Chris assures me that by the time he is 18, the temper tantrums will have diminished to stoney, cold silence for days or weeks at a time until he gets over his latest snit.
“And once Mason calms down, Maddie will begin,”?Chris reminds me.
However, others with older children have also assured me that once they have children of their own, they eventually come back to thank the one who gave them life.
So to all the mothers out there; the young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation, and mature mothers learning to let go, Happy Cat Herding Day!