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I Didn’t Truly Appreciate My Mom, Until I Became One Myself

image source: dresden shumaker
image source: dresden shumaker

I was raised as an only child by a single mother. Growing up my mom and I were incredibly close, but I was always aware of those periods that were challenging. I knew when my mother was stressed about bills and when she felt guilty for working long hours, and I knew some families didn’t struggle the way we did. And while it was hard to be aware of some heavy adult burdens at a younger age, I know that the awareness made me a stronger and more capable adult.

There was a small moment in my life where I felt resentment towards my mom. Why did things have to be so hard for us? Why didn’t I get to have a blissfully ignorant childhood? By the time I was in my twenties, I realized just how lucky I was. My mom taught me the value of hard work and perseverance. She taught me to dream big and to never accept no as an answer when chasing your dreams. She showed me the beauty of an active life and how being passive achieves nothing. I saw my mom for who she was: a Wonder Woman, a Julia Sugarbaker, a success.

When I decided to become a single mom by choice, my mother was excited and supportive. There was never a moment where she questioned what I was doing. She raised me to think things through and she respected and honored my decisions. Together we navigated the pages of donor sperm options online. She also came with me to almost all of my doctor appointments at the reproductive endocrinologists.

When I was 34 weeks pregnant my mom, quite unexpectedly, lost her job. The company where she had been employed for several years had to downsize and almost everyone was let go without notice. It was an ego-crushing and soul-sucking blow, and I watched as one of the strongest people I know fought to not crumble.

As my mom actively searched for jobs, she was also able to be home with me for the last few weeks of my pregnancy. She was with me the day I gave birth to my son, W; she was the first person to hold him and she cut his umbilical cord.

While I thought I was close with my mom growing up, after having W, I’ve realized how much closer we’ve become …

We say “I love you” more

We have always been a family who shows love, but once I had W, I became a total sap and couldn’t stop telling my mother how much I loved her. Hearing it more from me prompted her to say it more often as well, and the next thing you know we are a family that went from maybe two vocal “I love you’s” to 20 in a day.

We go on more adventures 

My mom worked so hard when I was a kid. I know we must have had plenty of adventures, but I can’t remember them. Every time my mom takes W out on an adventure, my heart swells and I have this feeling like, “This must have been what it was like!”

She has my back

Raising W is my primary responsibility, but my mom is fantastic backup. Being a single parent means there is no good cop/ bad cop negotiating. But having a grandmother who has your back is a HUGE help. Knowing that my mom will always be that parental backup is the best.

We talk more

Post-W, we’ve spent more time talking about a wider range of topics and issues. I’ve been able to broaden her understanding of ideas that she didn’t have the opportunity to learn about when she was growing up. She grew up in an era where no one talked about social issues in the world and now we talk about them every day because I want W to grow up knowledgeable and aware.

She gets all of my “mom” feelings

Sometimes I look over at W and just explode with love for him. I can not imagine how it is possible to love this kid SO MUCH. When I try and explain it to my mom, she smiles and says she knows EXACTLY how I feel.

I can’t imagine being a mom without my mom’s support. When I decided to become a mom on my own, I had hoped that my mother would be involved, in fact I had planned on it. Looking back, the support I imagined seemed much more structured. I didn’t at all foresee how intertwined and connected a family unit we would become. I feel lucky to have the chance to know my mother in her grandmother role. She worked such long hours when I was a kid that I didn’t get to experience as much of her lighter side as she probably would have liked to have shown me.

Every time I see her and W at play, there’s a little girl inside of me who gets to experience it, too.

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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