I sat down in the back of my Sunday school class, toting the boy, juggling coffee, purse, and breakfast. A visitor to the class (a young teenager) smiled at Isaiah and then said, very sweetly, “Is this your first Mother’s Day?”
I was flattered. I laughed and said, “No, this is actually my third child.” Before she had a chance to be embarrassed I added, “No seriously, thanks, I know. Don’t I look good?”
If it is possible to have pride without being arrogant, I’ll call it that.
If it is possible to be confident without being full of myself, I’d like to claim this one too.
This feeling has been a long time in coming and I feel okay now to take a moment to soak it all up.
There was a time in my life when becoming a mother was an afterthought. Of course I would have kids. Every normal married couple eventually has kids. What is the big deal?
Then came that year (2006) when having our first child was happening much sooner than we wanted it to, and I was very angry and scared that nothing was going according to my very carefully worded life plans. A very very difficult pregnancy turned into a very very difficult baby, and I wondered why people raved about the bliss of infancy. (Every time someone reminded me of how fast this time flies, I thought, “What magical baby crack planet are you living on? I can’t wait for this blob of goo to quit crying and just tell me what she wants.”)
Then there were the months of working, pumping, diaper-eating-daycare, and what seemed like weekly ear infections. Much of this time was a blur of hormonal survival and medication was eventually necessary. Then, at some point this was said: “Well, we’ve started, we can’t stop now. Besides, if we wait another ten years, they’ll never really be friends.”
So, another pregnancy, another child, another round of postpartum depression, and another tummy sleeper who sort of dozed but never napped because of the “Back to Sleep” campaign and lack of darkness and silence in a room full of working mother’s babies.
Despite this, two was surprisingly not as hard as one. I got a little smug. I thought, yeah, maybe I can do this motherhood thing. Maybe I can put my career on hold for a while.
My longing to end the stress of daycare life was realized, all too abruptly, and we were thrown into a new town, new house, and new routine without any family, social, or professional support. I endured story-time, the park, Barnes and Noble’s train table. I peeked longingly into the faces of other moms, assuming their smiles were as forced as mine. Awkward small talk always ended with me driving home in a state of semi-panic, wondering if I’d just made the biggest mistake of my entire life. I loathed my title of Stay at Home Mom and began to think that maybe daycare hadn’t been so bad. I was convinced that interesting and stay-at-home-anything didn’t exist in the same person, and I’d never make any friends. Also, I thought my toddlers were going to eat me alive.
But slowly, things changed.
They got easier. They got better. I found school. I found the YMCA. I found other moms who were willing to admit that margaritas at 11am is a perfectly logical if-not necessary request.
And now there are three. And I like them.
So I spent the weekend feeling adored. But really, I spent the weekend feeling a lot of pride. I know that I’m good at this, and I know that what I’m doing every day is exactly as important as everyone says it is. And for the first time in probably seven years, I am completely content to know these things even if no one else does.
I also spent the weekend watching many other women just like me feel the same thing.
Motherhood. What used to be a common club with a default membership entry has now become the biggest thing in my life worth celebrating. And I don’t care if that makes me sentimental, or cliche, or boring.
Because Mother’s Day is my new favorite holiday.