I’ve stopped and started this post about ten times. It’s hard to put into words all the things my mom has done for me throughout my life— all the sacrifices she’s made, the lessons she’s taught, all she’s done for my girls. It’s even harder to acknowledge I don’t show her nearly the appreciation she deserves.
Let’s start with some tactical stuff, because Grammy’s help and support is probably one of the main reasons we will never leave New York.
My mom babysits whenever she is available and always asks us to call her first, even though I feel guilty every time my call reveals itself to be a babysitter request.
My mom takes Mazzy to gymnastics every Thursday, picking her up from school, taking her to class and then buying her pizza on the way home.
My mom watched Harlow for five days while Mike and I took Mazzy on a ski trip to Utah.
My mom volunteered to watch both kids so Mike could take me on a spontaneous weekend trip to Miami.
My mom accompanied me and newborn Mazzy on a ten day business trip to Vancouver, shortly after I returned to work post maternity leave, when I wanted to prove to my boss I was every bit the career woman I was before I had a child, but also didn’t want to leave my baby at home.
When our first nanny flaked out and left us with no warning, my mom dropped everything to stay with Mazzy until we found someone new.
But tactical stuff is such a small part of what makes my mom an amazing grandmother. Mazzy and Harlow don’t just love her, they think she is the MOST FUN PERSON ON EARTH. And it’s not just all the toys she gives them (which is too much!!!!), it’s every time she is with them, she gives them 100%. She engages with them in a way I rarely have the patience for. She takes their lead and builds on things they are interested in. She makes up games, stories, and songs, all with their rapt attention and participation. And with a level of energy I couldn’t muster even on my best day.
Recently, I was talking to my mom about how she does it. I admitted that playing with the girls makes me sleepy. I want to love my free time with them but I always seem to get so tired the second I give them my full attention. Or my brain gets overwhelmed with all the other things I have to do. Then my mom brought something up I hadn’t thought about in years.
“Remember how I used to doze off everywhere?”
Of course I did. That was a major factor in my childhood. My mom fell asleep in the middle of the day all the time. It wasn’t like she walked off to take a nap in her bedroom. She’d just suddenly be sleeping on the couch. She’d doze off at gatherings with family members. She’d pull over for a quick snooze in the car on the side of the road. At some point, after going to many doctors, my mother determined her exhaustion was due to a wheat allergy and stopped eating bread products. We’d have a holiday dinner at my aunt’s house and there was my mom refusing challah because she had to drive home later.
“Yes, I remember. You have a wheat allergy.”
“No, I don’t think so. I think having children is just exhausting.”
Huh. It dawned on me that my mom eats bread all the time now, but I never thought about when or why it was reintroduced. Could my perfect mother not be quite as perfect as I always thought?
My mom admitted something else recently. When I was talking about the hassle of getting two young kids out the door, she said, “That’s why I waited six years before I had my second.”
My sister and I have a pretty big age gap but I never thought about why. But now I understand it is because my mom found parenting challenging and knew her limits. She waited until I was more independent before having my sister. That makes sense.
Hearing these admissions were huge for me, because I always feel totally inferior to my mom when it comes to motherhood. Even more importantly, I realized my mom was willing to knock my image of her as “the perfect mom” down a notch, so I would feel better about my own ability to parent.
I’ve also noticed that every time I talk about my parenting struggles on my blog, somewhere in the comments, there is “Grammy” talking me up and telling me I’m amazing. I confess, I don’t always believe her. I just think, oh that’s something an amazing mom would say.
So I guess what I want to tell my mother this Mother’s Day is… I don’t just love what a great mom you were to me growing up or what an amazing grandma you are to my girls, I love that you’ve made an effort to let me know that none of us are perfect parents, even you. And that you continually try to reinforce that I’m a good mom, especially during my most imperfect mom moments.
I know you think I don’t care nearly as much as you do. But that’s not true. I have two girls now, so I know the unconditional love that comes with being a mom, and I can tell you I love you just as unconditionally.
I can only hope that one day in the future, my kids feel as close to me as I do to you. And that I do them the great service of admitting that being a mom is hard and none of us parent perfectly and that’s okay.
Happy Mother’s Day.
I love you,
Thank you to Minute Maid for asking me to be part of their “Doin’ Good” campaign which encourages people to recognize great parents (especially the ones who might not realize how great they are) and give them the appreciation they deserve.
I defy you to watch this video without crying.
If you leave a comment below describing a mom in your life (your mom, your aunt, a sister, a friend, etc.) who you want to recognize for #doingood, you could win a Minute Maid prize pack including a $250 Visa gift card to keep for yourself or gift to the person you spoke about in your comment. For a second entry, you can also leave a comment on the Mommy Shorts Facebook page.
Winner will be selected at random on Friday, May 22nd.
Good luck and Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!
And the winner is… Christi, who said:
“My mom, well, she isn’t my mother. My mom chose me. She married my dad. She chose to love me. She never distinguished which kids were his or hers. She never loved me less. She just was. She was there. She was strong. She let me love her, hate her, hug her, yell at her, and simply feel unconditional love.”
Congrats! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize.
This post was sponsored by Minute Maid but my love for my mom is my own.