A few weeks ago, an old friend of mine phoned. Our dads went to university together and we had been penpals through junior high and high school. Then we got busy with university, husbands, jobs, etc. Since then, we’ve found each other on Facebook, so when she called, I was happy to chat. Towards the end of our conversation, she asked, “What’s it like to be a mom?”
I opened and closed my mouth several times before stuttering out an answer. Right then, I didn’t know what to say—motherhood is so full of ups and downs, as any of you moms know. Yet her question stuck with me, making me think hard. And so I’ve come up with my list of the top ten things (in no particular order) I love about motherhood.
There is nothing like a tiny pair of arms wrapped tightly around your neck. My two-year-old in particular loves to snuggle, but lately even my four-year-old wants a long hug when she wakes up. Sometimes, I’m guilty of being impatient and wanting to do other things, but I’m learning to slow down and appreciate those moments of closeness.
I didn’t have sisters growing up, so I’m having fun with two daughters and the chance to do all sorts of girly stuff with them. I get to dress them up in pretty little outfits (well, at least until they started dressing themselves) and style their hair (when I can convince them to sit still long enough to get a “ballerina tail,” as Lily calls a ponytail). On the weekend, we all trimmed and painted our toenails. They were so excited about sparkly toes.
I sometimes tickle my daughters just to hear them giggle. It is such an infectious, happy sound. Maybe someday they’ll hate tickling the way I do, but right now “Tickle Monster” is one of our favourite games. It’s a great pick-me-up at any time of day.
Children ask questions. Lots of questions. From very young ages. It starts with simple questions, like “Why?” and advances to more profound questions that leave me wondering how I’ll answer them. Sometimes those “why” questions get tiresome, but most of the time, their questions make me think or laugh or look at something in a new way.
Things that are everyday, thoughtless actions to me—like walking or going to the bathroom or tying my shoes—take time for children to learn. In watching my daughters grow and learn and hit each milestone (from first teeth to first words), I’ve come to appreciate those little things again.
Remember university days, when you could strike up a conversation with any other student because you both had classes to discuss or profs to complain about or papers to stress over? Being a mom has once again given me that “I have something in common with you” ability to make new friends. Even if I have nothing else in common with a mom, I can talk about my kids with her. When our babies started sleeping through the night. How we dealt with potty training. What cute thing my daughters said recently. And often from there, a friendship develops.
I now have two little helpers with everything I do. Sometimes, this is frustrating, as I can make cookies faster without Sunshine trying to measure the flour for me. And I wouldn’t need to vacuum quite as often if they didn’t mash fish crackers into the carpet. Their desire to help—or just to be doing whatever I am doing—is a lot of fun when I let myself slow down and enjoy it. (Even if we need three vacuums now so everyone can clean house.)
On a similar thread to having helpers, I also have two constant companion. Being an introvert, I still appreciate time to myself (and appreciate the fact that they are learning to play better with each other lately), but I also like having company. In fact, lately if I have to drive somewhere longer than 20 minutes by myself, I try to find someone to carpool with. Long drives with no one to talk to are no fun, because I’m so used to having a least some little chitchat coming from the back seat.
There’s an old saying that everyone needs to be needed, and it’s true. My daughters need me and while that is at times overwhelming, it’s also very special. I might not be the best mother in the world, but I am their mother, and each of them needs me (often at the same time).
I love the fact that we have two daughters—that they have each other. It’s honestly double the fun. Especially now that they are really learning to play together and to talk together. I like seeing them hold hands when we’re out grocery shopping or listening to them play make-up games together or give each other big hugs in the morning when they wake up or sit on the couch together to watch a movie.
Your turn. What do you like (or look forward to) about motherhood?