Make the meals. Wash the clothes. Explain the homework. Clean the bathrooms. Do the ironing. Drive the carpool. Wipe the spatter off the mirrors. Take to classes. Do the shopping. Referee the squabbles. Wipe the noses. Kiss the "owies". Mend the clothes. Soothe the hurts. Listen to the stories and complaints. Read the books. Get the drink of water. Tuck in bed.
So many aspects to a mother's life. And that doesn't even take into account meeting with friends, exercise, dates with your husband, or a career.
It was a lot of years ago I read a chapter in a book called Everyday Miracles that I've never forgotten...called "The Good Mother". In the end, when all is said and done, what we want most is to get an "A" in mothering. You know what I mean. We want our children to be gracious, loving, creative, and helpful.
The journey to "A", though, is fraught with ups and downs. There are moments when our children surprise us with a spontaneous "I love you, Mom". Or there is great conversation around the dinner table.
Most days we feel like we've done "good enough" because we gotten errands checked off the proverbial list. But there are days when we feel like we've really blown it. Said things we shouldn't have. Made wrong assessments of sibling interactions. Been short with our temper. Or not monitored homework in a timely manner, and the kids are behind.
The fact of the matter is - and this is important - no one is keeping score. No one is counting the kisses and hugs. Sometimes I wish they would. You know the times when you've made extra effort to make family favourites for supper and people don't acknowledge it. Or when all the laundry is washed and folded and put away...and then the family assumes that the "laundry fairies" have done it again. Most days, Mom's work is taken for granted. It's all a necessary part of the love it takes to be a mother...but it's nice to get credit once in a while.
But then there are the times when our "dark side" takes over and I'm grateful for the non-scorekeeping. Like the times we are short with our children for their childishness, or make judgements without all the facts. I will never forget the time when my oldest was about four and taking forever to eat his supper. I had long since finished and finally said some scolding words to him and stood up to clear the table. When I came back a minute later...he was asleep by his plate. Head on the table and just out. That was one day I'll never forget, but my son has never mentioned again. You see...kids don't keep score.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Families are growing relationships that make us more like each other everyday. We rub off on each other, for better or worse. Take each other for granted. Are there for each other. And no two families are the same. Great times together. And times best forgotten.
It's a humbling thing to be a parent. We invest in our children emotionally like no other relationship we will ever have. We want to be important in their lives. We want to be the best we can be for them. But mostly we feel challenged by the gravity and yet somehow drained by the dailiness. It's a monumental task that we've signed up for. We strive and fuss, and wake up each day with a fresh opportunity to do it all over again. Praying, some days, that we will do better than yesterday...yet trying to enjoy the beauty of bonding moments along the way.
I don't think we moms want to do "good enough" parenting. We want the "A". So we press on - in search of it. Thankful (and hopeful) that when all is said and done, our children feel the love of our daily investments and forgive our misguided ways.