This year, Mother’s Day feels bittersweet for me. I am blessed with an incredible son, who I love more than anything. But this day also reminds me about the baby we are no longer waiting for. While I’m definitely feeling the sadness in my heart today, I’m trying hard to focus on what I have, rather than what I lost.
It’s still kind of hard to believe that I’ve been a mom for more than two years now. There is so much I could write about what it’s meant to me and how I feel about being a mother – about how wonderful and how challenging it has been.
What’s really amazing is how you can just morph into the role. I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but actually being someone’s mother wasn’t something I could really prepare myself for.
I’ve learned that being a mom means being a jack-of-all-trades. I’m part doctor, part teacher, part chef, part wrestler (ever try to get snowpants on a toddler?), part comedian, part negotiator, part cleaning lady, part singer.
There’s no manual that teaches you how to be a mother. I’m a planner and an organizer, so I read lots of books before and after Littleman was born. I realized very quickly, though, that no one else could tell me how to do this job. The advice in parenting books mostly caused me more stress and I had to learn to trust my own instincts instead.
I have to laugh when I think about all the things I swore I would never do or say. Or about all of the ways I planned to do things when raising my baby. Things just don’t always work the way we plan it.
It was important to me that I breastfed Littleman, but I wanted to make sure that I got some rest too. So I intended to pump and freeze my milk so that D could help out with some of the feedings. Turns out Littleman never, ever took a bottle. So much for that plan. I ended up with a freezer full of breast milk that never got used.
When it was time to introduce solids, I wanted to make my own baby food so that Littleman could eat a variety of fresh, homemade foods. D bought me a special baby food processor, complete with a food storage system. I’d spend my precious time during naps steaming and pureeing lots of different fruits, vegetables and meats. Littleman hated almost all of it.
Once he could eat regular food, I swore that we would offer Littleman whatever we were eating for dinner and, if he didn’t like it, too bad. He wouldn’t starve and he would learn to eat whatever was put in front of him. Nice try. If I’m alone with a screaming toddler who wants a banana/yogurt/cheerios/pear/toast, then that’s what I’m going to feed him.
Even though some of my “plans” haven’t panned out and things don’t always go as expected, being a mom has been an incredible and exciting journey. He may not eat as adventurously as I would have hoped or sleep through the night as often as I would like, but so far we’ve managed to raise a smart (he can count to 11!) and polite (he’s great with the “please” and “thank yous”) little boy.
When I think about what being a mom means to me, I don’t think about what my son ate for dinner last night or whether his t-shirt matched his pants today. I think about the time we spend together as a family. I think about playing outside, singing the alphabet song, reading before bed or pretending we’re driving a firetruck. I think about the hugs and the kisses and the snuggles.
Although I am sad that I’m no longer spending this Mother’s Day preparing for baby #2, I’m honoured to be called “mommy” by a sweet, funny, loving and beautiful boy. And, this morning, when Littleman said “I love you mommy. I kiss you!” it made all the parenting stress, challenges and exhaustion melt away. All that was left behind was love.
Whether your have children at home with you, are expecting, have suffered a loss or are trying and hoping to become a mother, Happy Mother’s Day to you!