Holy smokes, moms do a lot of work.
It tires me out just thinking about it all, especially when I’m in the middle of it. Just because I need it, and I bet I have a lot of friends who could use it right about now, let’s recap what moms do.
- Plan and cook meals, and go to the grocery store.
- Buy clothes seasonally, and wash them daily.
- Buy toys, sort toys, clean toys, give away toys, buy more toys.
- Keep the house clean, which means tracking plastic minutia that multiplies in our sleep.
- Head people-focused committees in religious organizations, like fundraising drives and picnics and missions.
- Act as the household medical expert. Usually this means dispensing band-aids and Tylenol but sometimes, unexpectedly, it means typing up a full medical history for an issue that has been going on for weeks, and in the typing searching for answers, for clues, for a way to help diagnose a problem that might be nothing and might be everything.
- Run the parent-teacher association at school, which means attending meetings, planning and executing fundraisers, distributing funds, and communicating with the community.
- Attend parent-teacher conferences, bake cupcakes, go on field trips, head book drives, make flyers, buy school supplies for their own children and for others who cannot afford them, and buy gifts for teachers and staff at school.
- Keep up with cultural influences on their children, including music, TV, magazines and billboards, and internet access and exposure.
- Work full-time or part-time, in the home and out of the home and both at once.
This list is not complete, but it’s a good start. And yes, many of us have help from dads, family members, and friends. But for most of us, most of the time, moms are the alpha and the omega of anything that might affect our children.
This subject is on my mind right now because I have spent the last couple of weeks working with a group of fantastic moms to ensure that our town compensates for a lack of state funding in our school system. The future is uncertain—we might or might not lose some valuable staff members and some programs in our schools. But whatever the outcome, I know this: there is no group of people I’d rather have by my side when I have a fight on my hands than this one. These moms—just like moms all over the world—are fighters, organizers, and implementers. They are smart, savvy, sweet, and not to be trifled with. I am very blessed to have them in my community, as are my kids.
But even with all this mom power surrounding me, I feel like I could use a pick-me-up. And I bet they could too.
Because no matter how much we do, it seems like there’s always another fight. And even when we learn—as I have learned—to take a step back, give ourselves a break, delegate and relegate and relax (maybe even say no once in a while!)—the respite is short-lived. So I want to be sure the respite is true and complete, with no strings attached.
Too often, while moms are doing all the mom things of the world, they are also being hard on themselves, wondering if they’ve done enough, or done it well enough. If they’ve asked every question, answered every challenge, picked up every bit of debris, brought home the bacon, cooked it up in a pan, and left the pan clean as a whistle.
I don’t want this self-doubt, for me or any other mom. I want us to know just how amazing we are: all the way, deep-down know it.
I have a mantra, given to me by a nurse, that I think could come in handy.
When I was ready to give birth to my son—I mean, really ready—I had to wait about twenty minutes for the doctor to arrive. I didn’t get an epidural, but I had something to take the edge off the pain. Unfortunately, the something wore off before I could have more of it and the pain had about a thousand edges. My son was telling me most insistently that he was ready to emerge, and I had to hold onto him with every ounce of strength that I had. One of the nurses in the room kept repeating the same phrase over and over as I struggled to hold on: “You’re doing better than you think.”
And you know what?
She was right. Because I was doing a kickass job of holding onto that baby, and then I did a kickass job of getting him out here, and then I did a kickass job of taking care of him, and I still am. And I’m in fantastic company—I’m absolutely surrounded by moms doing a kickass job of being moms.
If any of them—if any of you—ever start to doubt, to lose sight of the big picture in the everyday minutia of the struggle, just remember what that angel of a nurse said: You’re doing better than you think.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that you’re hitting the ball out of the park. Cause that’s how moms roll.