Motherhood is the warmth that washes over you the moment the nurse places your swaddled baby in your shaky arms. The way your heart soars with love and pride and good intention. It is snuggles and kisses and sheer amazement for the tiniest toes you’ve ever seen. It’s swaying back and forth to a rocking chair’s creaky rhythm while you watch delicate eyelids grow heavy with sleep. It’s waking every three hours to feed a hungry belly, the way exhaustion becomes permanently intertwined with life. It is a brand new kind of love.
Motherhood is determined hands grasping both of your pointer fingers while bare feet wobble across a cluttered floor. It’s riding a feverish wave of firsts – first smile, first food, first word, first step, first birthday. It’s piles of diapers, then potty training, then pee sprayed across the bathroom floor. It’s please and thank you, no and NO! It’s bandaging scraped up knees and snuggling under warm blankets while reading books before bedtime. It’s tantrums and spilled milk and chaos, lots of chaos.
Motherhood is answering questions all day long. What day is today? Do I have school? What’s for breakfast? Can I have chocolate? Why not? Where are my dinosaurs? Did somebody play with them? Why is it raining? When will it stop? Can we play in the rain? Where are my boots? Motherhood is a complete absence of silence.
Motherhood is giggles and sticky fingers while baking chocolate chip cookies. It’s roasting marshmallows by the fire and catching lightening bugs just after the sun sets. It’s slides and swings and backyard baseball. It’s building forts with sheets draped across living room furniture. It’s high fives and hugs. It is seeing the world once again with the inherit wonder of fresh, young eyes.
Motherhood is getting a shower and realizing the kids conspired to go outside wearing only their underwear while they “mow” the front yard in January. It’s looking like a fool, everyday. It’s laughing at yourself, at your kids, at your own insanity. It’s minutes that feel like hours. It’s sobbing, whining, pleading, and arguments. It’s cooking dinner for children who refuse to eat for entire years. It’s waging an endless war on crumbs scattered across the kitchen counter. Motherhood is, at times, quite ugly.
Motherhood is listening to fears and worries, both big and small. It’s learning when to step in and when to stand back. It’s second guessing yourself constantly. It’s knowing that we don’t have all the answers. Motherhood is teaching love, kindness, respect, and compassion through our own actions. It’s setting limits. It’s the overwhelming task of nurturing a life, of helping someone thrive.
Motherhood is always changing as time passes, as kids and Moms grow and become. I won’t pretend to know what is in store. I’ve heard it gets even better. I’ve heard it gets even harder. I imagine that both are true. But I do know I’m thankful for this journey, for my very own Mama, and for the monumental love that Mamas hold in their hearts.
“MAMA! MAMA! I need you! I pooped! I pooped!” I hear Parker yell from somewhere upstairs. Time to go; motherhood is calling. Let’s just hope he made it to the potty.