It’s not just a day! 😉
A hard thing I’ve learned is not all mothers are loving and nurturing. Working in close proximity to social workers and psychologists, I learned of children who were in unhealthy environments and, to my despair, children who were neglected. It broke my heart to see these gorgeous children who were as skittish as a kicked puppy, and who rarely, if ever, smiled. I learned I don’t have the kind of strength to see that on a daily basis. God bless the social workers and others who make this their life’s work.
Every day, from the time I knew I had another life inside me, I have been a mother. I have actively loved my children; that is, loved them in the sense that love is a verb–by not just telling them, but showing them in all my actions. I stopped working and became a stay-at-home mom. I made sure they had books and outings and visits with relatives and friends; and thank goodness it was the pre-mobile device era, because when I took them out for a walk with the stroller, we talked. We talked and talked, about everything we saw. We took time to stop and chat with friendly neighbours. Sometimes I stopped walking and went around to the front of the stroller, so I could look them in the eyes as we conversed.
My kids have always known that when they need me, I am there. When I’m reading and one of them needs to talk, I put down my book. I give them my full attention. I went into motherhood knowing this was going to be the most important thing I’d have to do for the next 21 years, and then for the rest of my life. And I am so glad to have this “job”–it is the best part of my life.
I realise as I write this it sounds an awful lot like bragging, and isn’t that a shame? Because this isn’t and shouldn’t be considered over-the-top “mom behaviour”– this should just be how it is when you make the decision to become a mother. I don’t consider that I am special at all. In fact, the list of ways I’m sure I’ve failed my kids, and the list of mistakes I’ve made, are both quite long. I think of the things I’ve written above, the positive things, to help console myself about all the failures. And at the end of the day, the thing that helps me most is knowing that, whatever I’ve done wrong, and however I may have screwed up, at the very least they know they are loved.