I hesitate to call myself a mommy blogger. Primarily because no one calls me mommy. And like so much of my kids’ early years, that milestone slipped by without being marked for posterity or really even noted. Instead, one day I found myself wondering where my babies went and how I suddenly came to have multiple teens/preteens living upstairs. Sometime around the same time, I realized I now answered only to “Mom.”
But, mommy blogger or not, I’m intrigued with the challenge over at Her Bad Mother. In an effort to discover the mothering experience around the world, bloggers are asked to write about what they like (or don’t) about being a mother, then tag other mothers around the world to do the same.
I wasn’t “born to be a mother” in the way that many women seem to be. Though I love babies and never thought I wouldn’t be a mother, the role itself hasn’t defined me in the way I see that it has for some of my friends. There was a time I felt guilty about that. Now I don’t.
Perhaps, there are some positives about being “middle aged” as a mother. (Note I said “as a mother.” No admissions to being personally middle-aged will appear here!) I expect that I’m about half way through the actual child raising period, having been at it for 15 years. By the time another 15 years pass, my youngest will be 24. One of the most pleasant surprises about all this is that I’m enjoying being a mom now more than ever. I’m more confident in my choices and in my way of relating to my kids. I’m less concerned about doing things “correctly” and more confident in doing things that are right for us.
So, if someone were to ask, and in a way, I guess Catherine did indeed do just that, I’d respond that the things I like about being a mother right now, today are
1) Everyone in my house uses the bathroom without assistance. No one calls me to help wipe, and, in fact, no one wants me anywhere nearby when they are taking care of these details. However, this, as of yet, has not stopped them from barging in on me in the bathroom–oh, wait, this was supposed to be about what I like!
2) My children get my sarcasm. I’m excellent at sarcasm. I think it’s an inherent trait for English teachers, former or not. At times in the past this wasn’t a good thing when little feelings could get hurt unintentionally. Now, we just laugh, especially when they have occasion to prove that sarcasm is evidently an inherited trait.
3) Books. While I own quite the personal collection of picture books and enjoyed sharing them with the kids when they were younger, nothing compares to being able to read and enjoy the same books. I love selecting books with the kids, seeing their excitement build when a new book by a favorite author is scheduled to come out, talking with them about what they are reading and what they’re thinking. Seeing DD1 begin to pick up some of my own favorites and then find herself unable to put them down. All those nights of bedtime stories paid more than sufficient dividends.
4) Both DD1 and DD2 are now capable of making simple dinners. Working in the kitchen with the girls and teaching them family recipes feels solid and lasting. I picture them in another 25 years doing the same thing with their own children, and in another 50 with their grandchildren. But did I mention that if they cook, I don’t have to? Um, yes, that’s an added benefit. And, don’t worry. Soccer Boy isn’t left out of this one–he’s just not quite old enough to master more than the basics of microwaving right now!
5) I did indeed, though, save the best for last. Over the past few years, I’ve listened as DD1 ran through her paces on the cello and cheered when everything clicked and she realized what it would take to be academically successful in challenging courses. I watched DD2 channel all her determination into being the best at her chosen sport of gymnastics and then devote an equal amount of determination into convincing her reluctant mother that it was time to move on. At the same time, Soccer Boy some how metamorphosed from the baby boy taking his first steps on the sidelines of his sister’s game into the goalie focused on making sure his team brings home the championship, but not without taking time out along the way to develop the kind of character that makes his teachers stop me to compliment him for being such a good friend.
And it’s after taking a step back and looking at all those things that I realize the real “best” part of parenting–watching my children become the people they were meant to be.
I’d like to tag some of the best “mommies” I”ve had the privilege to meet. The August ’96 birthlist moms continue to make me a better mother, no matter what the age of our children. Some of them have migrated into the blogosphere, and I hope they’ll share their thoughts on the joys (or travails) of mothering. Though most of these moms are American, I’ve noted the two from outside the country in an effort to add to the “around the world” theme.