The wonderful Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored struck a chord with me in a recent post when she said, "No one becomes a mother for the recognition. ... There's no 'thanks for being a great mom to your kids' cards and no extra vacation days for a job well done." I have to lamentably acknowledge that this is usually true, unfair though that is. But I'm also happy and proud to say that my mom is an example that there are exceptions to the irrelevance that sometimes (feels like it) comes with being a mom.
I've wondered before about my role in the blogosphere. I'm not a mommy blogger, even though I move in a lot of mommy blogger circles. (To be fair, I'm not really a teacher blogger either, even though I also move in education circles.) But one thing I feel I contribute to the momosphere (sure, that's a word) is the perspective of a grown daughter, reflecting back on a lifetime of loving from her mom.
My greatest gift to the community - so far as I can see it - is that I can offer hope to some of the moms out there. Those of you who cry with frustration when your child won't stop screaming? Guess what - my mom did it too, sometimes while letting the vacuum run just to drown me out. And I turned out just fine in spite of it. Those of you lamenting the inevitable growing-up of your babies? My mom lamented losing me to adolescence and adulthood too, tears and Kleenex and all. But we have a great relationship now, as two grown women who love each other beyond measure. These are things that can be hard for all of you in the trenches to see, but I am living proof of the awesome good to come after doing a great job raising your children.
So to Kristen, and anyone else who feels irrelevant sometimes, I guarantee that you're not. And when your children are older and more capable of understanding and expressing their emotions, they'll realize it. Someday, they'll have their own blogs - or whatever the equivalent will be in twenty years - and they'll use them to tell the world how awesome you were in their childhood. Why? Because you're raising them to be the kind of people who will willingly acknowledge what a great job you did - hell, they'll want to acknowledge it.
Just look at me: I wrote a photo essay to my mom. I bragged about how beautiful she is. I called her my hero. My mom is amazing and I want everyone who reads this blog to know it. Because she's important to me.
That's all well and good, I know, for your children to acknowledge your "job well done" in the motherhood department. But it's not like anyone unrelated to you comes walking up to tell you you did a good job raising your kids. Right?
Wrong. When he first met my mom, my friend C. did just that. We had all been having a picnic at a park for my birthday, and as folks were leaving and Mom was cleaning up, C. offered to help carry things to the car. As they walked, he thanked her for the job she did in raising me. He knew she'd been a great mom, he said, because of the kind of person I had turned out to be. Because he was grateful to have me in his life, he thanked my mother.
So I'll let you all know that you should do the same. If I have made a difference to you somehow, be thankful for my mom. If you think I'm a good person (or that I try to be a good person), the credit for that goes to my mom. If you are glad to have me in your life - virtual or otherwise - be glad that my mom did such a great job loving me and teaching me for the last 25+ years.
Let's make a great big e-card that says, "Thanks for being a great mom to your kids." Because I want Kristen to know that it can happen.