I am thinking about two different directions for a post for today. First, what it means to be a mother, and just how much motherhood has changed me and my perspective on life. Second, how I celebrated my 2nd mothers' day as a mommy!
I have been thinking recently about just how much I have changed since becoming a parent. My priorities and what I value have shifted immensely. There is a quote that goes something like, "to become a parent is to have your heart walk around outside your body," and it is true. Since having my boys, I find that my focus has shifted from myself to them; I think of them and their needs before I think of my own. I worry about things I would never have worried about before. When I hear the news, things hit me harder-- the person who was injured or died was someone's child, too. I cannot fathom how awful it would be if my children were hurt, or worse. I would rather die a thousand times over than have something happen to them, and while I am often a big exaggerator, that is not an exaggeration. I worry for the day that they will be beyond my protection and left open to their own judgment. I want to warn them, please, don't do anything to endanger your perfect little body or healthy life. Don't risk what I have worked so hard to give you.
I can't think of anything that I wouldn't sacrifice for my boys. And those feelings have come naturally to me. Of course I have thought of myself as a "nurturer" before this (I think most therapists do), but all of my care-taking instincts are magnified with my children. In looking at my own relationship with my children, I have become more aware of other mothers and their children, and have become aware that not all mothers respond to parenthood this way. It's not necessarily natural to feel this way, and not everyone has "maternal instincts."
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to become a mother. Mothers' day makes me aware of all the women who become mothers but aren't ready, and those women who are ready but have not yet been able to realize that dream. I don't know if it is because I had a more difficult road to motherhood than most, but I find motherhood a privilege and an honor.
That said, I was ready to be spoiled a little for mothers' day! I asked Eric to get up with the boys at 7, and I slept in til 8 (ha, slept in, hahaha). Eric made a delicious brunch for my mom and me (and dad, and the boys): scrambled eggs with roasted asparagus and parmesan cheese, homemade cinnamon rolls, fruit salad, and mimosas. Then when the boys went down for afternoon naps, my mom and I went out and did some shopping. I actually found things to buy, unlike on my unsuccessful birthday trip a month ago, and got some new clothes.
Unfortunately, both Benjamin and Asher are sick today. First Asher had a fever, then Benjamin. They were cranky, and whiney, and clingy. We nursed many more times today than we have in a while, but it seemed to bring them comfort, and I figure the extra antibodies and fluids can't hurt, either. I guess that was just another reminder that I'm two somebodies' mama, and it feels so good to have my arms be the place they feel better.
Happy Mothers' Day to all the mamas out there-- to my grandmothers, aunts, mother-in-law, and of course my own mom, who has taught me so much about what it means to be a mother. Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms-to-be, who are eagerly anticipating holding their own babies in their arms, and to all the women who have chosen not to have children of their own, but to mother and mentor the children of others. And I am thinking of all the women who want so badly to become mothers, and here's hoping that this is your year.