By: Jana Greene
I’ve been looking through old pics because Mother’s Day makes me melancholy.
Part of it is the necessarily severed relationship with my own mother, and partly because my kids’ childhoods were a time I actually felt competent in a way I haven’t since.
When they were littles:
I could make their food with my body (for 4 1/2 years out of my life between the two of them. I was virtually the Dairy Queen!) It was the purest experience of my life.
I could hit up every library in Raleigh so they didn’t miss one single “Toddler Time” program in town.
I could teach them how to read and to ride their bikes.
I got endless snuggles.
I could wipe every year and kiss every booboo.
I got to choose their friends.
And celebrate their every accomplishment and victory.
But best of all, I got to see the world through their eyes.
And my arms were always full with children.
I figure the picture I’ve chosen for this blog is probably the most accurate candid shot, and utterly relatable to other moms who are willing to say the truth: Parenting is not easy.
All we see on social media is Insta-worthy, misty watercolored perfection. We use filters. We want the world to see how perfect our kids are; how stellar we are parenting.
The problem with that is that they aren’t perfect, and I’m not a perfect mother. (PS…perfection – even filtered – is an illusion.
I remember this picture because my friend was taking pictures at the preschool that morning and she snapped this one. I hated it at first. But now I kind of love it.
A harried, overwhelmed mother of two littles, trying to pick up one child from preschool while running late for the other’s dentist appointment.
I wish I could go back in time and tell myself it will all be ok. I wish I could tell this young mom that one day she will be able to handle the chaos and unpredictability without alcohol. I wish I could tell her YOUR BABIES WILL BE OK. They will not escape childhood unscathed. And YOU will not escape it unscathed.
So I’m telling YOU, Mama. Your babies will be okay.
Y’all, what an odd time to be alive. We want to be seen in our best light all the time, and social media has set this expectation in stone.
But here’s the thing, Moms…
You ARE the light.
You’re doing a great job.
I know my kids have some unpleasant memories. After all, you never know what they’ll remember from childhood. They could recall in detail the time Mommy burnt Thanksgiving dinner and lay on the kitchen floor crying in a heap. Or when she yelled at them for the 10th time in a day. They may remember those near-perfect days in Disneyworld when they breakfasted with Snow White and got to pull the sorcerer’s stone out of Merlin’s rock outside the carousel, ride Big Thunder Mountain twice in a row, and eat churros while perusing Epcot.
It’s a crap shoot, really…. the memories they take away.
I still routinely find myself with the expression of the young mother I once was. Life is confounding and overwhelming.
But look what I have in my arms! Having them is having EVERYTHING. Big kids = big problems. But we still all hold on to each other.
I still celebrate all of their accomplishments and victories. I still hug them every chance I get.
I am still seeing the world through their eyes. They teach me as much as I ever taught them.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.