Some days, most days, I don’t believe I’m a very good mother at all. I’m impatient. Short-tempered. Distracted. Tired. Old.
“We should have started earlier, we should have started younger,” I complain to my husband, insisting we are too old to rear young boys properly.
Most mornings I rise with this prayer in my heart: “God, please help me be a better mother today.” And most evenings I collapse into bed with a similar refrain: “God, please help me be a better mother tomorrow.”
I don’t give myself credit for the everyday. The endless shoelace tying, face wiping, ear cleaning, nail trimming. The peanut butter sandwiches with no crusts please. The folding and folding and folding of Hulk and Spiderman briefs. Clomping dirt chunks off sandal soles as the sun rises over the back patio. The sweeping, dusting, crumb collecting, sponging, scrubbing, Windexing. The Band-Aid applications. The perching. The snuggling, kissing, cooing.
I brush it all off as…not enough. Not good enough. I see all the things I don’t do, rather than the things I do.
But then I think of my own mom.
When I was very young my mom didn’t play a lot of hide-n-seek or “school” or Barbies. She didn’t get down on the ground and play in the dirt. As a teen I didn’t have many heart-to-hearts with her about boobs or boyfriends. I didn’t spill angst or weep tears onto her shoulder very often. We weren’t girlfriend close.
But my mom got her hands dirty. She rose at 6 a.m. to heat the griddle and mix Bisquick; placed a plate full of syrup-soaked pancakes at my place, so I could have a warm, filling breakfast before school on track meet days. Steam hissing, sputtering, she ironed favorite prairie skirt and ruffled blouse, pressing cotton crisp. She pulled pans of moist, spicy hermits warm and soft from the oven.
My mother loved by doing. She still does.
Thankfully my own kids seem to recognize my attempts to love by doing.
Noah has been celebrating Mother’s Day each day this week with a homemade gift for me:
Monday: Toasted buttery bagel, nestled into a paper coffee filter like a delicate egg, and walked upstairs to be offered to me in the bedroom as I clasped watch and earrings.
Tuesday: Rock garden of Evening Primrose, Columbine and Solomon’s Seal, each tender green transplanted into scarlet pot.
Wednesday: Paper-winged butterfly, butter yellow with indigo spots, captured gingerly in cupped palms and presented at the back screen door.
Thursday: Back scratch at bedtime.
Noah loves by doing, too.
So, I think now, perhaps it counts after all – the mundane, the everyday grind, the loving by doing. Perhaps it all counts for something…and then some.
Celebrating Mother’s Day with the Gypsy Mama today, who asked us to complete the following phrase: Moms matter because…
Hop over to the Gypsy Mama to discover all the ways moms matter…