Mothered, Grandmothered and Mothering

Summer 2009  Four Generations

I’m late with my Mother’s Day gift for my mom and although my grandma’s card was ready to go out yesterday, it is sitting by the phone.  Yes, it is only the Friday before the actual holiday, but I know the package I sent yesterday will not get to my mom until Tuesday, and because my grandma’s card won’t be in the mailbox until today, she won’t get hers on time either.  I’m losing my touch.  I used to be so on top of things.  That was…until…I became a mother.

Look what these kids have done to me.  I can hardly believe that I am okay with the state of my house on any given day.  I used to follow my firstborn around as he crawled and put his toys back in the toy basket so that I didn’t have to pick up the huge mess when he was ready to go to bed.  Now, I barely even look at the clutter as I drag myself up to bed some nights, too tired to properly brush me teeth.  I get to it eventually, and when the toilet in the kids’ bathroom looks like it does right now…well, I will likely run a brush around it at some point today too.

If you were to gauge my mothering skills by the way I wake up to my house sometimes, I would surely never win a mothering award. Evidenced in this photo I took just as I wrote this and resisting an urge to pick anything up first.  I guess I should explain to you all that I separate mothering from homemaking, and I am much better at the first than I am at the latter.

Our house is not filthy, it is just cluttered. The kids clothes aren’t grimy, they are just well-worn. All of it reflects the life that happens here.  I’m not perfect at it, but I spend more of my energy and time on the health and well-being of the kids inside those wrinkled and stained clothes.  The things we do creates clutter, and then when I am more organized, we spend our energy together getting re-organized:  a duty of a mother to teach the kids how to clean up after themselves too.

Every mother knows that the hardest job she will EVER have is to mother the children in her home.  There are some common experiences that all mothers share, but each job is unique and challenging because what is bottled in each home is different than the next.  We all do the best we can and there is a reason we should celebrate the diversity that is motherhood.  That’s why I wanted to get out my cards and gifts on time.

The cup in the background of my picture is the Mother’s Day gift that Little Sprout brought home from preschool.  It is uniquely from her with the buttons placed where only my Little Sprout would put them and the real flower that she is so proud she “made” for me. It is a reflection of where she is at this point in her life.  My tardy gifts and cards are equally reflective of where I am in my life right now too. I appreciate and adore what it means to be a mother to all of my sprouts, but I also want to acknowledge my growing appreciation for the mothering I have received my entire life.

Mothers take time enough to tend to the hearts of their children, to make eye contact with them when they tell their stories, to hug on them and laugh until everyone is crying. No woman learned to mother on her own, and my thankful heart today beats with gratitude for my mom, my grandma, my mother-in-law and all the other mother’s out there who have always put mothering first…even when they had to climb over piles of laundry to do it.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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