Monday, May 11, 2009

Word to Your Mother

Note: I meant to post this yesterday, but with all the Mother's Day festivities and a toddler who decided to completely skip a nap, never had the time. So, a day late and a buck short, a Mother's Day themed post...

Today is Mother's Day. All week I've been reading quotes and poems about mothers and motherhood. One that I've seen often is this:

A man's work is from sun to sun, but a mother's work is never done. ~ Author Unknown

I can't help but think of how hopelessly outdated that quote is and yet, so true at the same time. From what I've heard from other mothers I know in real life and online, I'm extremely fortunate to have a husband who is, for the most part, an equal partner in the parenting of our son. He changes diapers, kisses boo-boos, and reads that bed time story for the thousandth time without a hint of boredom in his voice. He has been a fantastically involved father from Day One and the relationship he has with our son shows this.

It's easier to expect a sharing of the parenting duties when both of us work full-time jobs. Neither of us has an excuse for not working what I like to call "The Second Shift." Just because you've worked an 8.5 hour day, plus time spent sitting in traffic, doesn't mean you get to come home and sit on your ass for the rest of the evening. Dinner still has to be made, laundry washed, dried, and put away, dishes cleaned, a toddler to bathe... the list goes on. At the same time, those few short hours in the evenings are all we have with our little boy during the work week and I'd hate to waste them on chores. I'll be honest, my house is rarely (if ever) spotless, our clothes are clean, though not always immediately folded and put away, and we get take-out far too often.

This is where the 2-man parenting team really comes into play. While I'm getting dinner started, Mr. Shoes will be down on the living room rug wrestling with Littleshoes or explaining the fundamental differences between Spiderman and Wolverine (which is very important). After dinner, Mr. Shoes will clean up while I play Jaws with the rubber ducky in the bathtub. Bed time always consists of lots of hugs and kisses from both of us. These are the things that will (and do) mean the most to us when the boy's all-too-short childhood is over. Not to mention the fact that it's so much easier to actually get the chore stuff done without feeling like we're neglecting him and his development in the process.

On the other hand, a mother's role is so dynamically different from a father's, as is the connection a mother has to her child. To further illustrate my point, another quote:

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own. ~ Aristotle

Mothers spend nine months growing and nurturing the child in their womb and begin to make the sacrifices necessary to become a parent right from the start. When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately began to put myself second because that little person depended solely on me to make sure he had every possible chance at survival. Pregnancy was an amazing journey. Feeling your child move and kick and hiccup inside you is an indescribable sensation and one only a mother can know. A mother knows more about her child before he or she is even born than anyone else involved in that child's life. That bond, that physical, emotional, and spiritual connection is present from the very beginning and only grows stronger as time goes on. It makes me sad to think that father's can't experience the same thing.

That connection, that overwhelming love a mother feels for her child, no matter what, is why a mother's work is never done. I will spend the rest of my life living and breathing for my child and hoping that I can raise him to be kind of person who believes the impossible can be possible. It's a tough job, but it has its perks.

And, although the sentiment is nice, I don't need an entire day devoted to appreciating the mother I am. I'm lucky enough to have a husband and son who make me feel like a goddess every day, from sun to sun.

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