Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The "Beauty" of Mothering

Mother’s Day is certainly a lovely day if you are a mother.  Who doesn’t like gifts and poems and naps?  That is, if you get those sorts of things on Mother’s Day.  And I’m not one who deludes myself into thinking it’s all sunshine and lollipops for everyone.  Heck, my nap started; 10 minutes later it ended with first Derick screaming, then Grace, and finally Jane playing the piano.

We went to the Botanical Gardens, which was crowded but beautiful.  The kind of Texas spring beauty that calms and infuses you with peace.  It’s a different kind of beauty than that found in the realms of motherhood.  I find much beauty in being a mother, but it isn’t calming and it isn’t peaceful.

I think the greatest source of the beauty of motherhood is it’s ugliness.

Many times, on these blogs, women present this very unrealistic picture of their lives and motherhood. I think we all like to be positive.  I certainly do, but do women do each other any favors by only focusing on the pretty aspects?  I find it fascinating that after all the feminist enlightenment over the past few decades, women are still pit against one another.  Ann Romney never ‘worked’ a day in her life, if you don’t breastfeed for 5 straight years,  you are not ‘mom enough’.  What are we doing to each other!!?  It is sick.  On this blog, the children never fight, on that blog, the children are dressed head to toe in J Crew each day and not complaining about it.  On this blog, she’s mother of the year, on that blog, she’s running a successful business from home and still playing legos on the floor with her kids each afternoon.  It seems that the only way to present motherhood in today’s day and age is to white-wash it.

Even I have been presented that way and it totally makes me laugh.  My friend, Chanda, texted me the other day to say that our video had been featured on Facebook and I’d been billed as a “Rock Star of a Mom”.  Since I’m not on Facebook, I lurked with Greg’s account and saw it.  I couldn’t help but laugh when I told my kids this week that “I’m a Rock Star”.  Grace rolled her eyes and exhaled rather dismissively.  They know the truth and their opinion is all that matters.  I know I am not a rock star in any sense of the word and so do they.  That’s not to say I’m a failure.  I just know that I’m not what people try to make me out to be.  Because motherhood is NOT a competition.  I am only looking to God and my children for approval (and even then, I don’t much care if the kids always approve).

Beautiful mothering is not made up of perfect lives with perfect children.  To say it is only does other women a disservice.  We all have to do our best in our own families with the limited talents we posses.  They may or may not be better than our neighbor, but it does not matter.  Beautiful mothering is made beautiful because it is full of ugly moments.  When your daughter sasses, rolls her eyes and is generally full of bad attitude all week, the card she writes you for Mother’s Day wherein she apologizes is made all the more beautiful.

When your other daughter screams and says you are mean and life is unfair, when she writes you a beautiful Mother’s Day poem with the line, “She loves movies, books, and her Mr. Darcy”, you smile and even cry because she actually knows you as a person and not just the Wicked Witch of the West.

When your son won’t let you dress him for school and keeps signing for his dolls and you have to say, “You can’t have a baby until you get dressed!”  You laugh out loud at the absurdity of that statement.  Taken out of context, it is insane.  Sometimes mothering my children is just hilarious.  That’s the beauty of it.

When your other son won’t get out of your face and stop saying, “Oh hi, mom.  I love you mom,” after about the 50th time in a row, you stop and say, “He couldn’t say any of that for the first 4-5 years.  Why am I getting annoyed at him?!”  There is beauty in remembering how much I wanted to even hear the word “mom”.  Sometimes, I have to remind myself.  Because I am not perfect and I forget.

I talked to my mother yesterday on the phone.  She told me of taking care of her mother with dementia.  She told me of the indelicacies and some of the things she now has to do.  The same things I have to do for my Derick. I asked if it was hard for Grandma.  She said it wasn’t.  She doesn’t understand anymore.  I thought of the beauty of her story.  Even though on the surface, it is ugly; the beauty is in the love.  My mother loves her mother because she first loved her.  And now the roles have reversed.  And it is very very hard for my mom.  It is not pretty or clean.  But it is beautiful.  Because it is motherhood in it’s purest form.

It is service.  We love because we serve.  We serve because we love.  Service isn’t perfect and it isn’t always received that way.  But it is beautiful.  Because it isn’t.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I can't believe no one has commented on this post yet! (I just stumbled across your blog from 71toes.) This post is amazing, and it should be read in the masses by moms everywhere. I read the "Disclaimer" on Shawni's blog (about how life isn't perfect & there are plenty of bad and uglies that go along with the good. She posted it b/c a poll showed that the #1 thing that depresses moms is blogs). Her disclaimer prompted me to do the same because I don't want to depress anyone. I love this quote: “One of the reasons we struggle with insecurity is that we compare our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” And it's so true. I am definitely guilty of it, and I think it's true for so many of us. Furthermore, why don't we as moms stick together more? I have a blog because I love to document my children's lives, and to journal, and I put my posts into a tangible book at the end of the year. My last post was about something I did with my son to help him clean up the aftermath of the hurricane that hit his room. When I shared it on Facebook (as I do all of my posts), it seemed the only comments were things I should have done as opposed to what I did do. I am all too aware at how far from perfect I am (especially as a mom). I second-guess myself plenty. None of us need anyone to point out our flaws or mistakes, because they are already glaringly obvious to ourselves. A parenting style that works for one child may completely backfire for another. You are so right, motherhood is not a competition. How I wish we would stick together more. Thank you for this post:) And sorry for my "rant" on Rochelle's Ravings;)