First I want to wish all the awesome women out there a happy Mother’s Day! You may not have your own kids but you could be an aunt, mentor, friend to a young person and you may be a mother figure to him/her. You are just as important.
For about 10 years I was a single mom. Every Mother’s Day she would get up and bring me breakfast in bed. Sometimes it would be cold toast, or pancakes, or any of my other favourites. I ate them with a smile on my face. It would be the only day of the year where she would make sure she she was up before me. Even on Christmas Day, I would always have to wake her up. Mother’s Day was the exception.
I have some bad memories of Mother’s Day but oh so many more good ones! All the little gifts she would make for me or buy from the dollar store, many of which I still have. And homemade cards! Even last year I received a homemade card (did I mention she was 20 at the time?). She told me she hoped to be as good as a mom as I am. It brings tears to my eyes when I read that but can only think of all the mistakes I made while she was growing up.
Last year for Mother’s Day, my other daughter (aka step-daughter) bought me a journal. My family knows that if they don’t know what else to buy me, buy me a journal. They know I love to write.
To start, the front the journal had a lovely quote: “We are all made of stars!” Then on the inside, she wrote out a number of motivational quotes from various people including poets, authors, celebrities, singers, religious leaders, etc. Following all 7 pages of quotes, she wrote two lists. One lists the reasons why she loves me. The other lists the reasons I should love myself.
Here are some of the reasons she loves me:
- I can always get advice from you.
- You taught me to stand up for myself and to not be afraid to do so.
- You know there are some things I need to figure out on my own.
- You accept me.
- You put up with dad.
- I know that if I called at 2am in trouble you will be there for me in an instant.
- You’ve always believed in me.
- You’re genuine.
To hear these things from a young woman who has been in my life for only 6 years, during some of her toughest years, was heartwarming to say the least.
As a step-parent, it can be very difficult to step into a child’s life, especially in their teenage years. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. For so long it was just me and my daughter. The next thing I knew, my daughter had a man in her life she could look up to and I had 2 new children to call my own, including a son. I had no idea how to parent a boy – and a teenage boy at that!
If you are a mom, a step-mom, adoptive mom, a grandmother, a foster mom – any woman who is helping to raise children in this wild world – Bless you! It is not easy raising children at any age.
As infants and toddlers, they require constant attention and you have NO time for yourself. In the school age years, there are school events, extracurricular activities, injuries, sleep overs, play dates – and you still seem to never have time for yourself.
Middle-school comes along and there are fights with friends then making up the next day, competitive sports, more injuries, HORMONES, more social issues like smoking, drugs, alcohol, etc. They may not be doing any of that but they are exposed to it. In high school, all of that becomes more of an issue along with sexual issues, helping them to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives, part-time jobs, volunteer work for school credit, boyfriends, girlfriends, partying, friendships, etc. And you as their mom have to help them become an adult so they know what to do and know how to fix problems on their own.
As I learned the hard way, your job as a mom is definitely not over once they turn 18. If anything it gets harder. There are so many books on raising toddlers but very few on parenting young adults. Where are the borders between parenting them and holding them accountable and creating rules versus they are adults and need to face the consequences on their own? They need your guidance but often don’t want it until after they have moved out. And what do you do when they break the rules? They are adults. It is very difficult to ground them at this point.
This all sounds very negative but there is a point to all of it. Parenting can be tiresome, emotional and hard. We know that going into it. But it is also very rewarding, encouraging, loving and one of the best things we, as women, will ever do in our life. And if you are a women who is not a mom, that is okay, too. You don’t have to be a mom in order to be a complete, successful woman.
If you are mom, get rid of the guilt, shame and self-doubt. You are not meant to have all the answers. Children do not come with rules books or directions. On top of that, every child is different and every parent-child relationship is different. They are not meant to be the same.
You are doing a great job! Love yourself – your children do!
God bless every mom (or mother figure) this weekend! Share this to encourage a mom you know.