“Mother” is a job description. Its roles and responsibilities are vaguely defined, with plenty of room for “as needed” tasks. While the position has strategic and long-term goals, these often get lost in the myriad of tactics that must be executed through a 24/7 period. “Performance reviews” – if they happen at all — don’t really matter…mothers cannot earn raises or be fired.
Most mothers develop their skills by talking with others who held the position before them. Or they speak with those who currently are in the same role. Some rely on self-help books or seek professional input. The majority, however, learn the tricks and tools of the trade through “on-the-job-training.”
Many mothers are able to recruit support. They build a network that includes partners, teammates, service providers, etc. to get the job done. Simultaneously, however, mothers often feel like individual contributors. At the end of the day, successes or failures fall on them.
Being a mother isn’t easy. We often feel unappreciated. Sometimes we feel trapped. Other times, we contemplate quitting. And we never are quite sure that we are doing a good job. So why take on the role of motherhood?
* * *
This morning, I woke up to a text message from my sister. It read: “I nominate you for the most loving and prettiest Mom Award. You must send this to 15 moms and make their day. I’m also waiting! Sometimes u just need to hear it…You’re a beautiful mom, doing a great job and you’re so loved!”
First of all, pretty has nothing to do with being a good mother. I cynically replied, “Thank you for the ‘bouquet,’ but I tell myself this everyday.” I then continued, “This only means something when you hear it from your husband and children.” I want to hear what my kids think of my performance as their mother.
* * *
If I’m brutally honest, I think I became a mother because it was assumed…even expected of me. (Biology didn’t coerce me…my mother did.) Then it was about creating a family of my very own. Then it evolved into wanting to leave a piece of me behind; a generation to carry on the values and ideals – and genes – that I hold dear. Regardless, I have no regrets.
And so, Mother’s Day is on Sunday. There will be presents and cards. There will be proclamations of love, appreciation and gratitude. But I really don’t need all of that. My job satisfaction comes from watching the way my kids live their lives.
As I mother, I was blessed with raw material that could be molded and shaped. But I never took it for granted. I showed up every day and worked hard to stay focused on the future. Today, I am fortunate that my kids grew to be confident young adults who can stand on their own feet. They are smart, financially independent, loving, and appreciate the opportunities they’ve been given. They will go far, yet they know from whence they came…and from whom.
To all of you who persevere because you believe in the mission and the cause, I salute you. Happy Mother’s Day!