A couple of years ago, when Audrey turned two, you told me something I’ll never forget: “you always love your kids, but something happens when they turn two. You fall IN LOVE with them.” As I’ve now gone through that transition with three kids, I have to agree. But it’s not just that specific age; there are just certain things kids can do starting at two that makes us start to see them as little humans, not just babies or even toddlers. And as they grow ever older, and they start to evolve into the people they’re meant to be, the love we mothers feel for them just deepens. I think it’s admiration for them as much as it is mere affection. We’re no longer seeing them like pictures of ourselves at that age; we now see who they are inside; their burgeoning personalities.
Isn’t it lovely to have a group of friends who are so very talented? Here is another delightful look into Motherhood by Karen Forgette. This one appeared in the Oxford Eagle just a week or so ago. Again, my children are shown but don’t let them fool you. They are fabulous actors. (If you didn’t know that you might really think they were sometimes grumpy little monsters!)
A few weeks ago, I read a letter to Dear Abby from a man whose fiancée suffered from multiple personality disorder. The man worried he would not be able to cope with her many personalities and mood swings throughout the course of their marriage. I felt sympathy for him, especially since my own husband was unaware when he married me that I would eventually suffer from a similar disorder known as Multiple Occupation Mania, or MOM for short.
Multiple Occupation Mania is characterized by a woman’s rapidly changing perception of her profession. For example, a MOM sufferer may begin her day believing she is a time management expert. Her job is to ensure her clients are awake; fed; clothed; equipped with necessary homework, backpacks, sports equipment, permission slips, lunches, and snacks; and sent to school within a 45 minute time frame, 30 minutes on a good day. This state is characterized by the frequent utterance of such phrases as “Hurry,” “You should have told me that yesterday,” and “I thought you finished that last night.”
Occasionally during this phase, a MOM sufferer abandons her efficiency expert persona to become a search and rescuer. This search and rescue stage is easily triggered by unanticipated remarks such as “I can’t find the black leggings I need to wear for picture day” or “Who took my pre-algebra book?”.
As her day unfolds, a woman who has been diagnosed with MOM spins in and out of several occupational personas. She may perceive herself as a chauffeur. During this phase, she can be heard muttering, “If I pick child #1 up from school at 3, I can grab #2 at the church at 3:12, and #3 from Stone Park at 3:17. Then #1 goes to Scouts, #2 goes to piano, #3 goes to the dentist, and I’ll swing by the grocery for rotisserie chicken.” At other times she may believe she is a personal shopper. She will stride through the stores, list in hand, checking off socks for Matt, a birthday present for Christie, deep purple nail polish for Annie, and a dwarf camellia for the back yard. At home, she may morph into a judge, staring solemnly at her son and pronouncing, “For shoving your sister, you are sentenced to two days of extra chores.”
During the homework hour, a mathematician emerges as the MOM victim tells her daughter, “As I recall the Pythagorean theorem deals with the three sides of a right triangle, but let’s double-check that on the internet.” Next she is convinced she is a short order cook as she prepares a casserole, which her son and youngest daughter love but her oldest daughter hates; rolls, which both daughters love but which her son hates; and broccoli, which everybody hates but which is good for them. A MOM sufferer may finish the evening believing she is a personal trainer as she coaches her son’s soccer team, spots a back walkover for gymnastics practice, or leads a jaunty bike ride through the neighborhood with her brood.
Multiple Occupation Mania can be undetected for several months, even years, until one evening in a fit of overload, the MOM victim will burst into tears and shriek, “I’m only one person” or “There’s only so much of me to go around.” At this point, her spouse must intervene, as mine has on several occasions, unless, of course, he is suffering from Demand Abundance Disorder, or DAD.
(Karen Forgette is recuperating nicely at home with her husband and three kids.)
My friend Julie Cantrell wrote this beautiful piece for the Oxford Eagle last year. I asked her if I could reprint it here for all of you dedicated Mothers out there. Here is her wonderful text along with my 3 little contributions to illustrate a few points! Enjoy!
Don’t Y’all Just Love Dixie – Motherhood, a Journey Worth Taking
By Julie Cantrell
I have been blessed with so much more than I deserve
To be here with the ones that love me
To love them so much it hurts
I have been blessed – Martina McBride, Blessed
Mother. Mama. Madre. Mom. No matter how you say it, motherhood seems to be the natural course to take if you’re a woman. Of all my female friends, even the most career-minded of the lot, I know only two who have opted not to have children. They are both married, happy, intelligent women who do not work and are extremely nurturing caregivers to their brood of animal babies. They also have each said to me, with shockingly unrestricted honesty, “I am way too selfish to be a mother.”
While I cannot relate to their outlook, I respect and admire them for having the guts to stand up and say, “Nope. Sorry. That motherhood thing just ain’t for me.” Not everyone has that kind of nerve. As a result, some women end up trying to fake their way through the role of motherhood, resenting every minute of it.
As for me, I’m an old-fashioned sort of a gal. My high school yearbook has my ambition listed as, “To be a good friend, a great wife, and a wonderful mother like my own.” I have to say, after ‘uh-hum’ years, I still have the same goals.
I happen to consider my most important role here on earth to be that of a mother. Of all the different directions my mind and my feet carry me in any given day, I always return to a main path – the one that I share with my family.
I am blessed tremendously. I have two incredible little beacons of light that have been placed in my arms directly from the heavens. I can’t imagine a single day without them. I wouldn’t want to even try.
I simply can’t imagine not wanting to be a mother. What would mornings be like without two sleepy headed wonders slipping into bed for a cozy sunrise snuggle? How would I spend my summers without mud pies and popsicles and sprinklers and slip-and-slides? What would life be like without frantic ER visits for concussions and stitches and a curious toddler who has managed to get her finger stuck in the hole of my clipboard?
Who would I be if I had never known the joy, the power, the ache of a mother’s love? The constant contradiction of thanking time and cursing it all at once. Grieving the passing of life, the growth of my babies, the end of a perfect day?
To me, every day really is absolutely perfect. How could anything be better than a sweet and innocent kiss goodnight after long-winded bedtime prayers asking God to watch over the dragon eggs that are hatching in our woods or the mermaids who live in the underground springs beneath our home?
What would make my heart melt the way it does when I see my daughter lean in closely to her little brother and teach him how to make a wish or a camp or a Granny-shot? What would set my soul afire the way it does when my son helps his older sister build a robot out of a million tiny plastic pieces or make a functional door alarm out of aluminum foil and wires?
What would make my adrenaline flow the way it does when my children make a goal, a homerun, or a longshot? What could replace the pride I feel when they show kindness to another person, share their last cookie without remorse, or invite a left-out child to join the group?
Every day my children humble me. They teach me. They inspire me. They awaken the child in me. This age with them is genuine. Perfect. Pure. It is an age of discovery, intrigue, and awareness. As the mother of these brilliant little minds, I delight in my children’s love for life. They help me return to a heightened intuition, reveling once again in the sights, sounds, textures, tastes and aromas that I once noticed as a child myself but had long become numb to as an adult. Through them, I see the world in a different light. Everything seems to have been repainted, newly tuned. I see brighter tones, hear clearer melodies. Thanks to my children, the details are no longer lost on me.
When my son asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I couldn’t think of a thing. I need nothing more than the simple smiles of my children to remind me constantly that there is no greater moment in life than now.
I admire my friends who have chosen another kind of life. A childless life. But I’ll never envy them. I’ll never want to trade places with them. To me, there is no greater accomplishment than the ability to truly, completely, without fail understand, accept, and love a child.