Yesterday was my son’s 7th birthday. Seven years ago, one week before Mother’s Day, he made me a mother.
Four years later, one week after Mother’s Day, I became a mother again. This time, to a daughter.
There are some ways that bringing my babies into the world was not the most pleasant experience. When Ben was born he had some sort of bizarre vomiting and choking issue that awarded him three days in the NICU. When Genevieve was born, my husband’s somewhat estranged mother sent hateful, accusatory, and demanding emails to me when I was still in the hospital.
In spite of the worry and upset associated with their births, nothing could take away that amazing feeling I had after giving birth. The hormones, freeing your body, and seeing that new little person you created, combines into the greatest cocktail of your life. It makes you feel light and airy. Energized. Deliriously happy. I’m sure there is a drug out there somewhere that makes you feel the same. I have often mentioned I wish I could bottle the post-birth euphoria, but without that sweet little baby, it just wouldn’t be the same.
There are some ways that being a mother is not the most pleasant experience. The hormones subside. The fatigue kicks in and never really goes away. New worries pop up. Maybe you allow them to dictate what kind of mother you will be. The kind of mother who is filled with self-doubt, stress, and worry. Maybe you don’t ever become the mother you thought you would be.
Motherhood is hard and overwhelming. I’m sure fatherhood is too, but in my home, as in many others, I am the default. I do the lion’s share of the loving, the planning, the breaking up of fights, the discipline, the handing out disappointment. It’s tumultuous, and many times I don’t know if I am coming or going.
It’s truly draining.
Motherhood is also glorious. On my children’s birthdays, I am almost able to recall that hormone cocktail feeling, when I recount to them their birth stories. I look at them and see their tiny infant faces, which I can still see through their growing kid faces. Everything stands still, and nothing else matters.
It’s truly refreshing.
The best gift I ever received for Mother’s Day was my children, and they never fail to give to me every day.
They give me eyes to see myself.
They give me love when I cannot love myself.
They give me pause to forget the stress and see the beauty and humor in every day.
They give me their trust, that I will love them and care for them unconditionally.
I often feel like I am not the mother I wanted to be. I am impatient. I’m overwhelmed. I’m annoyed. I yell. I am not always in the moment. The list could go on.
Yet, they continue to love me unconditionally, because I am their mother. And I them, because they are my babies.
That is the greatest gift of all.
*This post has been submitted to NerdWallet’s Mother’s Day Your Way Contest.