I've always appreciated my mom. She's a wonderful mother and we have a very strong relationship. However, it wasn't until I had my own daughter and became a mother myself that I realized just how much work and effort and energy it must have taken to be such a great mom to me and my siblings. Being a mom is tough, both emotionally and logistically, and my mom did it with aplomb, day in and day out. I could write a novel about the reasons why my own mother is my mom role model, but today I'm going to stick with the best 10.
Since turning 1, my daughter has had some bad reactions to her vaccinations. She wasn't sick once in her whole first year of life, so it was the first time I was dealing with a sick child, and my first time not being able to help soothe her pain. Like most of my tough parenting moments in this first year and a half, my mom was always on the other end of the phone helping me through it. At one point after a particularly hard stretch, we were chatting about how hard motherhood can be and it hit me that I could only truly appreciate how incredible a mom she was and is, now that I am a mom myself.
I think there are two feelings that come with motherhood that especially make me realize my mother is my own mom role model. The feeling of truly being willing to do absolutely anything for your child, and the feeling of not being able to help them when something is wrong. Knowing how exhausting it is to live with those feelings, I have an even bigger appreciation for the grace and energy my mom brought to her role as my mother. I hope I can do a fraction of the job she did, with my own children.
Because She Worked Hard
Through most of my childhood memories, I can't even remember my mom sitting down. She was constantly doing and going, nearly always with a smile on her face. She worked hard taking care of us and showing us how loved we were, and then she went to work and worked equally hard, first part-time when we were young and later back to full-time as a teacher and school administrator.
Because She Baked
My mother somehow managed to be the Maine version of Martha Stewart (minus the prison time) with limited resources and obviously limited time. Honestly, I don't know where she found the time in her day, while raising three kids, to bake treats and sew our Easter dresses, all while renovating a nineteenth century farmhouse that needed constant re-painting.
Because She Threw Killer Birthday Parties
Maybe not Pinterest-style perfect, but the birthday parties she threw us as kids were so full of her creativity and the joy she took in planning games and decorating cakes to match a theme. I had a detective party when I was maybe 9 years old, that I think was just the best party of all time; complete with pin the magnifying glass on the detective, an indoor-outdoor scavenger hunt, and a dodge the laser game that covered the living room in string. They weren't overly matching or stress-inducing, they were just totally fun and creative.
Because She Gives The Best Pep Talks
Still gives the best pep talks. My dad does as well, but man: when things aren't going right, my mom knows exactly what to say to make me feel better. Despite the fact that she works more now than ever, she always has the time for taking those calls when I really need a pep talk.
Because She Loves Hanging Out With Her Kids
I never once felt like she didn't want to be hanging out with us. In fact, I still feel like she truly wants to spend as much time as possible with us.
Because She Treated Us Like Adults In Conversation
Some of my favorite memories of growing up were sitting around the dinner table for hours, discussing politics or current events or whatever was in the local paper that morning. I loved those conversations, and they really taught me how to speak and converse like an adult more than anything else I did growing up, all because my parents invited us to join them at the grown-up table, so to speak.
Because She Spent Hours Teaching Me Geometry
I love my daughter more than I could ever explain, but sometimes I look at her and wonder if I could spend so many hours trying to help her understand something as painful as geometry. She had what seemed like unending patience while I literally banged my head against the wall. I hope one day I can show my daughter that same excruciating patience.
Because We Still Quote Her Weird Sayings
My brother and sister and I still regularly use her weird sayings and songs. When we were little and getting in the car for a ride, she'd threaten to sing if we didn't put our seat belts on, so it wasn't as though her voice was melodic. She definitely leaned more toward totally made-up and punny, rather than sweet and soothing, but remarkably apropos in so many situations. There were nights when dinner was "FFYS," or "fend for yourself," and she was forever admonishing us to GWTF, also known as "go with the flow." Life lessons in acronym form, right there for the taking.
Because She Still Wants To Protect Me
When we began the adoption process my mother was supportive, but worried for me. She knew the depth and scale of the hurt in an adoption journey that could potentially be so painful for me. Even once we adopted our daughter and started fostering, I could tell she just didn't want to see our hearts break in the process. I want that to be me, 30 years from now, wishing success for my daughter but also still struggling to want to protect her.
Because She's Still My First Call
My mom is still my first call when things go wrong. She can still soothe what ails me even though we've lived several thousand miles apart for almost a decade now. That's what I wish for my daughter, too: that she would still want to call her mom for help or a pep talk even when she's a grown up.