Believe the Mother's Day Hype: It's a Thankless Job

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On Mother’s Day everyone always talks about how mothering is such a thankless job–yada, yada, yada–but it’s worth it. That’s the long and short of this post too, illustrated nicely by this note from my youngest son.

It’s not, exactly, that my kids never thank me. They thank me several times a day. It just doesn’t, exactly, make up for the hard parts of momming. (Momming!) There are many nice parts about being a mom. Baby clothes are cute, hugs feel good (as long as they’re not bare), hand-written notes can be sweet. But would I trade a full night’s sleep for a card that says “i love oo”? No. I actually wouldn’t. And I don’t think the privilege of folding adorable white onesies into neat stacks is worth the feeling of warm vomit on my neck. I’m not super sentimental. Nevertheless. . .

Nevertheless, even if my kids weren’t cute and never gave me hugs or wrote me notes, I’ve signed on for this for the long haul. For me raising kids and working our way through the world together as a family is what gives my life meaning–not the only thing, but an important thing. It is hard and not fun. It is joyful and adorable. It is challenging. It is wet and stinky and expensive. It makes me proud, sometimes. Mostly, it is kicking my butt. It is making me a better person (on the whole) but (specifically) it makes me kind of mean, sometimes.

Last night my 14-year-old son was bummed that he hadn’t done well at his track meet.

“What did you eat today?” I asked.

“My friend gave me a PopTart for lunch,” he replied. OK. So maybe that had something to do with it. I didn’t know he was out of lunch money. And I don’t send him to high school every day with an organic, locally-grown lunch in a bento box. Off my case.

The track meet continues tonight (they last FOREVER) so I packed up a bag of carrots, an orange, a bagel and a jug with a special mix of Tang and Garorade (locally grown, of course) for him. I got it all ready and put it in the fridge. When I dropped him off at school in the morning he didn’t have it. “I don’t want to carry that big jug around all day!” Sigh.

I weighed about the same amount all through high school, college, and the first four years of marriage. Then I started having babies (bless their hearts) and gained in total 10 un-loseable pounds (they’re like unbeatable wands) for each baby I had. (You do the math. No, don’t think about it.) Once I heard my son’s friends talking about the hottest mom. It’s not me. Sigh. Ellen told me this morning I had big bum cheeks. Double-wide sigh.

Today 4-year-old Ellen’s hair was bugging her. She needs a haircut so I said, “That’s what’s great for me about having short hair–it never tangles and it doesn’t get statick-y!” “Or look cute,” she chimed in. Sigh.

At the end of the first track meeting this year they had banana splits. I stayed seated, filling out forms while my son went to make himself a banana split. He cut a banana in half, put it in two bowls, scooped ice cream, chocolate sauce, and nuts onto both and balanced the bowls while he climbed the bleachers back to me. “Oh, gosh. He’s hogging the refreshments,” I thought. Then he handed me a banana split and took a seat next to me.

So, there’s that.

Happy Mother’s Day to moms, dads, parents, wannabe moms, bad moms, funny moms, happy moms, sad moms, not-very-good moms and all the moms who are doing their best–There’s kind of no card for it!

Read more from Kacy at Every Day I Write the Book.
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