As I watched her with her three sons I admired her patience, discipline and all round good mothering skills. We talked, compared notes and related on every level on the challenges of parenting.
I thought to myself is this how I look and reflect as a mother to others? Does anyone notice my patience and tireless effort? And do people see me as anything close to this amazing young mother I observed?
I think all mothers wonder: what do I look to the outside world? Am I just a frazzled crazy mother with maple syrup in my hair. Do they only see the tired mom who stands in the super market aisle thinking why am I here.
In my opinion mothering is not a job but really an instinct and my visit to the zoo this week confirmed that. I watched a mother gorilla take care of her baby. I observed how she lovingly carried it on her back and held him in her arms protectively as he slept. Watching this you realize you are not taught to be a mother you just are. And while we all have our own style, techniques, values and yes tactics at the core we are all the same. A common core I would say but that has become a phrase that makes all mothers cringe. None of us are perfect, no one can do it all and no mother ever feels like she did not mess up.
At the end of the day (and at 3 AM) all moms just want to know they did a good job and that we did not fail as we sometimes feel we do. We want to be looked at with respect for all that we do and all the sacrifices we make for our children.
A little praise (and yes a COMPLIMENT) is sometimes needed whether it be a smile from a knowing elderly person on the street or a “wow you have a lot of patience” from the women behind the cash.
And the moment someone tells you have really good kids well that’s your bonus prize. When you hear all those positive things it is well worth the 4 weeks it took you to patiently explain to your 6 year old why zero times anything is always zero.
And just like math sometimes motherhood is hard to compute while other times it all just adds up…
Read more from her at her blog, Random Stupid Thoughts, a Mom's View of the World.