I am a mother.
This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It demands every ounce of patience I can muster, every fiber of endurance I can locate. It is non-stop, all day, all night, through the ups and through the downs with nary a break. Every action is watched, every word repeated, therefore every action I take and every word I speak must first be considered.
This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It began long before either of our children took their first breaths, and will end only when my own heart eventually stops beating. With the realization that there was one extra line on that little stick, the worrying began.
Are they okay? Am I doing this right? Are they happy and well and learning and social and will they grow up and be good people? Am I doing this right? The worrying, the questions, the self-doubt, the fear. For however much love is pumped out of my heart, with every beat equal amounts of fear lurk in the shadows.
This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. The pace is fast – lightning fast – with time running through my hands like water into the tub. Even if I wanted to stop it, I couldn’t. “Watch me, Mommy, watch me!” my daughter shouts, and I see her. I see her scraggly little toddler body and smile, not because of what she is doing, but because I notice that although her legs are long, she still has the littlest bit of baby chub left on her wrists. Oh my love, I am watching you. I couldn’t take my eyes off you if I tried, for fear of blinking and you growing up.
This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. The demands are never ending. The feedings, the cleaning, the dressing, the playing, the constant need of attention. It sucks me dry some days. The isolation and the repetition (the repetition, the repetition, the repetition) is enough to drive even the sanest of people mad on those days, and we all know those days.
This is the hardest job I’ve ever had. But oh my God, I can’t imagine my life without it.
This job, this long, hard, demanding, crazy job is the best job I’ve ever had. These kids absolutely destroy me sometimes. They break me in ways I didn’t know I could be broken. They test me, every. single. day.
But at the end of the day, no matter what kind of day we had, my daughter wraps her arms around my neck, her chubby little wrists pulling my face down to hers, and she asks me, “What are you going to dream about, Mommy?”
If I had my way, I’d dream about her like this every night until I died. Her innocence, her trust, her forgiveness and endless kindness. I would dream about it and hope that when I woke up, I’d be one tenth as lovely as she is.
I am so lucky to be a mother. I am so lucky to have a mother. Of course this sentiment should be expressed on more than one day a year, but how nice to have one day as a reminder to reflect on all we have, and all we are.
We are mothers.