It’s Mother’s Day, which means I was awakened at 7:30am when a stack of homemade cards and a plate of scrambled eggs were placed on my chest, that I ate while semi-prone as my four kids watched.
Mothers across cultures and countries share a bond. Regardless of language or religion or socioeconomic status, we all know the joy when we see our child for the first time, followed by the crushing realization that we would die for this little person we just introduced into our lives. We know the exhaustion of those early years, the feeling of constantly being sweaty (or was that just me?) from the sheer physical labor of babies and toddlers. The sleep deprivation, the juggling, the perineal bottles by the bathroom sink, and the questionable stains.
How we simultaneously cry and cheer as they grow and meet milestones and need us less and less. How they hang on our shoulders with comfortable familiarity when they talk to us, how they reach for us first when they’re scared or hurt, how they blame us when they can’t find their shoes, how they cringe and say “please stop” when we dance and sing to 90s hip-hop in the kitchen, how they ask for “just a bite” but then eat it all, and how they don’t seem to recognize we are autonomous human beings.
We’re just there, momming our days away. Procuring food, picking them up from school, reminding them to put on socks, smelling their breath to make sure they brushed, helping with homework, re-entering the Apple password, reading stories, watching their lip-synced performances to the entire Frozen soundtrack, tucking them in and later checking on them because they need reassurance that we’re down the hall and didn’t just bolt for freedom, and listening (or pretending to listen) to their many complaints and triumphs.
Motherhood is…all of the adjectives. Any mom, the world over, knows the deal.
Disclaimer: Dads are also indispensable and do a lot, including much of what I listed above plus crucial tasks like cleaning vomit off the stairs at 3am; running to CVS at 9:30pm for essentials like milk, poster board, and a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; and telling the kids to leave mom alone because it’s Mother’s Day and all she really wants to do is drink wine and re-read the sexy parts of Outlander. But Mother’s Day isn’t about dads and their contributions. We can save those sentiments for the grill/golf/beer-inspired Father’s Day card we’ll be giving dad on his special day.
I started writing a blog post about how being an expat mom in Mexico is different than being a mom in the U.S., but I had to delete the whole thing because I couldn’t come up with much and it was lame. Everyday life is pretty interesting with the language barriers and cultural differences, but at the end of the day, motherhood is motherhood. It’s the same daily mixture of humor, frustration, joy, exhaustion, flushing the toilet for people who should really flush it themselves, and being told I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I don’t have babies anymore so my clothes are usually clean and I think I’ve got the sweating issue under control. I’m more likely to be exhausted at the end of the day by an endless description of a YouTube video on the drive home from school or a detailed summary of a dystopian novel over dinner, than I am by physical labor. I’m grateful they want to share anything with me, so I listen, and nod, and cross my fingers the dystopian novel isn’t part of a four-book series.
So, this Mother’s Day I plan to call my mom and apologize for a few things from my own childhood:
- laughing when she danced the “mashed potato” to 50s music in our kitchen
- mocking her when she called Now and Laters candy “Good and Plentys” or when she sang commercial jingles wrong or how she called flips flops “go aheads” #momsaresodumb
- acting grossed out when she kissed my dad
- saying “are you even listening?” when she went back to her grocery list when I was only 10 minutes into my story about what happened with Stacy at lunch that day
- not putting her kitchen scissors back in the drawer, ever
- communicating through movie quotes of movies she’d never seen
- backseat driving when I couldn’t even drive myself
- not flushing the toilet (I don’t remember this being an issue, but considering how rarely my kids flush, it must be an instinctual childhood behavior)
Mothers everywhere are just trying their best to remain sane and calm as they guide their children along in life. We are flawed and complicated; we have passions, fears, dreams, and goals, just like all humans. And our children, bless their hearts, are a daily reminder that none of that matters because someone needs to reset the WiFi and figure out where that odor is coming from.