Friday, April 28, 2006

Some Kind of Mother

We spent yet another long, harrowing day at the doctor's office yesterday. Although Julia got the clean bill of health day before last, she nearly blacked-out on her class field trip. So, it was back to the waiting room. Petrified that something might really be wrong, I was feeling rather heightened, on top of being totally frazzled from week we've had around here. I wasn't the only one beginning to crack under the pressure. Iris was still feverish herself (being 3 days behind her sister with the virus), over-over-tired, cranky, and hungry. You're recognizing the potential in this ugly combination,I know you are.

As I sat there waiting, Julia quiet and peaked next to me, Iris was running circles around us, shrieking and whining and climbing and jumping around the germ infested sick ward barefoot (because she was insistent that her shoes were "bawvering" her and wouldn't let it go until I surrendered and let her take them off). I was on the verge of tears, head in my hands, at a breaking point. Suddenly, I had this overwhelming awareness that I was THE MOM that everyone was staring at. I was the mom that I used to stare at. Seriously, who lets their child run around a medical building barefoot? WHO? Certainly not me. At least not until I had Iris. So, there I was, being judged by the moms who held their sick babies close, who had shoes on their kids feet, whose children weren't yelling and whining and climbing and jumping. But worst of all, I was being judged my myself. What the hell kind of Mother have I become?

As I think on it now, I know what kind of mother I am, even when I'm at my worst and I'm embarrassed about my parenting choices. I'm the same mom I've been since my first daughter was born eight years ago;

one that will rock her babies to sleep at 3 months or 3 years,
one that nursed them despite the pain and pumped despite the inconvenience,
one that's unphased by poop, pee, spit up or throw up (no matter where it is)
one that never tires of art projects, tea parties, blocks, books, trains sets, dress up (and even when she does, she still does her best to play),
one that teaches her children to value and respect life because everyday is a gift,
one that loves her children more than life, even when things seem at their worst,
one that's willing to go to any length when her children need her,
and one that will sit for hours on end in the waiting room to be sure her daughter is OK.
That's the kind of mother I am.

And hopefully, I'm also the mother that is just a little more accepting of the moms who take their kids out with crazy, matted bed-head, with mismatched socks, and dirt on their face. Or the moms that have to leave their full shopping cart at the store because a tantrum forced them to, or those who get their kids junk food at the Target snack bar to buy themselves a little time to shop. I strive to be that kind of mother now. And, I hope I remember to offer a reassuring smile and nod to the mothers out there like me, who try everyday to do their best a maybe do it a little better than the day before with more tolerance, more patience, more love and more forgiveness.

14 comments:

misha said...

beautiful.

jennster said...

lovely post. i can't believe i just said the word "lovely." but that's what it is.

Motherhooduncensored said...

Tracey ~

I had this realization (in a smaller form with only one little tot) a few weeks ago (my that mom post). I shot out my daughter and gained a whole lot of empathy.

Do you want me to buy you the leash? :)

owlhaven said...

Tough day.. great post...

Hang in there
Mary, mom to many

HeatherJ said...

I loved this post. Just perfect. You sound like a great mom. Just what your daughters want.

Izzy said...

Yes, we're awfully hard on ourselves sometimes...

But it's been my observation that being a great mom often has nothing in common with being a perfect one.

A beautiful & thought-provoking post :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I so needed to hear this today. Yesterday Hailey (19 mos) threw food at a woman in a restaraunt. Tiny pieces of spanish rice hung motionless in her hair and I slunk (mortified) out of the restaraunt.

~Jenny
http://blogs.chron.com/mamadrama/

J's Mommy said...

My hat off to you mama! I've definitely had those days/weeks and it's not easy. Bravo to you for recognizing your strengths as a mom!

Noelle said...

Wonderful post. I feel the sudden urge to hug my own mother, now...

misha said...

"spanish rice hung motionless in her hair?" my kids have screamed and had right royal fits in restaraunts,and my daughter has put on a show at Target I could only dislodge from my psyche by blogging about it, but never hanging rice. that mama needs a massage. scratch that, that sweet lady needs an oprah show chock-o-block full of suprise presents she didn't expect...jenny,i don't know you, but you're a rock star. :)

tracey said...

Thank you all so much for the kind words.
I agree, having to deal with the "spanish rice" escapade pretty much wins.
And Izzy, you're right being good is not at all about being perfect! NOw if I can just remember that...

Bridgermama said...

Sounds like you are a stellar mama. I loved your post and will definitely be returning (mostly for advice, my bub is only 9 months).

Catizhere said...

To me, You sound like the Best kind of Mom there is.

THe one who LOVES her kids unconditionally. Is there really any other way??

Mom101 said...

We teach by example more than we do by our words. Your attitude towards others is going to go further with your children than the crafts or the nursing or any of it. Because you're showing them respect and tolerance and teaching them values.

You never cease to amaze me Tracey. Honestly. You're a good ma.