Sorry I’m a little late on this post. I’m good at that!
I’ve been pondering and pondering mother’s day since Sunday. Didn’t think of it much before that (which is why my gifts to my mom were last-minute electronic things). It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, but there’s still some tenderness there, and I have a lot of friends whom it bothers immensely, so it’s something worth thinking about.
This post is not for the ones who have clean houses and perfect children and perfect marriages. This is not for those who have personal, couple, and family prayer and scripture study each and every day whilst doing 100% visiting teaching, keeping up with their callings, and attending the temple weekly. This is not for those who have college degrees, make money while staying at home, and manage family business like a Fortune 500 company.
This is not for fake moms.
This is a shout-out to the moms who yell at their kids, who sneak cookies in the bathroom, who forget where they hid that last Christmas present, and who accidentally leave the birthday child at Chuck E. Cheese whilst wrangling fifteen nine-year-olds into four minivans. This is for the ones who decide the vomit can be cleaned up in the morning, who no longer even notice the smell of dog pee, and who hide dirty dishes in the oven. This is for the ones who do occasionally give into the screaming child at the supermarket and buy him that sugar cereal, who serve mac and cheese for lunch four days in a row, and who don’t always serve vegetables with dinner. This is for the moms who haven’t seen a movie in the theater in seven years, know the songs and words to at least five complete Disney movies, and who no longer even notice that the word “restroom” has been permanently replaced in their vocabulary with “potty.” This is for the moms who have begun to realize that they are woefully inadequate at their jobs and wonder how in the world their children will live to adulthood without killing anyone, including themselves.
You are trying. You are loving. Hopefully you are improving and learning. Just keep trying your best. You are doing a great thing, and it’s not your fault that this particular job magnifies every little flaw you’ve ever had. Keep praying, keep loving, keep hoping, and never, never, never give up.
Now, for the rest of us non-moms.
Notice I didn’t say “future” moms or “potential” moms. I’m one of you, and I don’t like to be patronized either. Whether or not you become a mother at some point is irrelevant to this discussion. You are not a mother right now, and THAT’S OKAY. While motherhood is a great thing, and great mothers are vastly needed in our society, not everyone can be a mom. Some of us really wanted to be moms. For some of us it was our life’s dream. Life rarely goes according to our plans and desires, contrary to almost every feel-good Hollywood movie out there. But, also contrary to Hollywood’s lines, not getting your first choice does NOT mean you are doomed to be miserable for the rest of your life. If that were true, every woman’s life would have already been ruined when she was two and her mom gave her the green cup instead of the pink one.
Now, I’m not saying you should completely give up early on in the game. If you have the resources and the strength and the opportunity, keep trying. But all of us, moms or not, reach a point where we are done. Whether or not you are good with that exactly when it happens, you need to learn to be good with it sometime.
“But,” you may say, “if I’m not a mom, what am I supposed to do with my life?”
Hm. That can be a tough question. But luckily, there are a ton of great possibilities. Such as:
travel, write books, mentor children, volunteer, go back to school, learn household skills, garden, climb mountains, read books, do crafts, write a blog, go hiking, teach a class, visit seniors, start a social club, make needed items for people who are sick or homeless or less fortunate, run marathons, get a job, start a company, learn a new language, swim the English channel, clean highways, make movies, invent cool things, research family history, build a treehouse, learn to paint, visit your neighbors, foster orphaned animals, go around town doing random anonymous acts of service, star in a local play, take a nap, organize family reunions with extended family, cure cancer, explore the North Pole, save the polar bears, teach sign language to apes, build a pipeline to ship extra water from the eastern U.S. to the western U.S., perfect a skill, solve world peace, and photobomb at least three celebrities.
There might be other things, too. The point is, we as women do not have to be defined by our ability to produce progeny (or not). If we cannot have children, it does not have to be a tragedy. It just means God has something else for us to do. Let mothers have their day. They deserve it. But we have our days as well. Live them well and relish them for the good they are.