Being a mom is tough work. I don’t care who you are -- rich or poor, married or single, first time or experienced, mothering is hard work.
This evening I made a new meal for my family. It was a spaghetti squash casserole filled with yummy veggies, fresh spices, and cheese. (Seriously, who can resist cheese!) I loved it. My husband loved it. My five year old loved it, and even my nine month old loved her pureed version. My two year old... not so much.
“Goosie no eat! Hurt Goosie mouth!” and “Icky!” were some of the more eloquent expressions she screamed as she threw each forkful to the ground to my happy dog. Because even my dog loved this meal. But not Goosie.
Halloween is coming up. I’ve been fretting about this holiday for a few months now. It has always been really important to me to make my daughters’ costumes from scratch. This year, however, we have a lot going on, and every time I look at my sewing machine, I want to start crying. I simply do not have it in me to sew three costumes from scratch.
So we headed to the consignment store, and my heart actually started to pound in my chest as I laid my eyes on the most adorable little infant lion costume I had ever seen. It’s all fur, and it has a huge head that pops out just above hers, and believe it or not, it was in her exact size. I looked at the price tag, and things only got better. So I ran home, laid her down, put it on her...
And she screamed. Like she has never screamed before. It kinda makes sense -- what little baby would want to be eaten alive by a lion? But she just looked so adorable that I wanted to eat her up.
I, probably along with all of you, could come up with dozens and dozens of such stories. Stories where you pour your heart into something for your kids, not really wanting anything in return except perhaps a smile. And all you get are tears.
I said it above, parenting is hard.
And I think that’s why sometimes non-parents wonder why we do it. Why do we pour our every waking moment into little beings when we could be out doing things for ourselves, saving the world, or even watching old E True Hollywood Stories?
Why would anyone possibly sign up for a 24 hour, seven day a week job with no opportunity to quit for a minimum of 18 years?
And I think the people who ask those questions just don’t quite get the idea that we get paid. Big time.
They don’t understand that for every long labored over veggie dish thrown on the floor, there are dozens of “thank-you mommy”s for a glass of milk or a cut up apple. They don’t understand that for the screamed over baby costumes, there are years of delight as your toddlers and older children’s eyes light up at the creation you have dreamed up just for them.
For every tantrum, there is a hug. For every fib, there is a contrite apology. For every sleepless night, there is a hug or a kiss or just even the knowledge that you are the comfort for someone who is in desperate need for it.
Motherhood is hard. In my thirty-five years, there is nothing that I have done that has proven more challenging. But even more so than that, motherhood is rewarding. It’s a blessing. It’s a gift. And I think that’s something that all of us mommies know even in our most sleep deprived and frustrated states.
So next time someone without children asks you how or why you do it, just smile and know that the tender you get paid in is worth more than all the gold in the world.
Amanda Knapp is a stay at home mom and occasional English instructor. She writes about her thought on parenting and life on her blog, Indisposable Mama.