Photo by Julie Adams
The day I held my own wrinkly baby in my arms was the day I finally understood my mother. I could not contain the emotional waves crashing over me, nor fathom the depth of love I felt for this tiny new being. I knew my mom must have felt the same way. Now with three little ones under the age of five, I’m learning daily the incredible difficulty it takes to be a mom and it surprises me how often my own mother’s voice guides my parenting. All the same tired phrases my mom used to quote, I now wish I could tell my kids.
Mother/child relationships can sometimes be a rocky journey. As a child, I adored my mom and would follow her to the ends of the earth. I loved shopping with her and marveled as she pulled coupons, carrot sticks, and lost toys from her purse like Mary Poppins. Then I became a teenager who knew everything and she knew nothing. When I went away to college, mom once again became the omniscient expert on laundry, cooking, roommate disputes, and the boys that were and were not worth keeping around.
I used to roll my eyes at the following adages; now I embrace them. I finally understand what my mom was trying to say—I finally get just how much love can be intertwined between mother and child. So to my own little ones, here are eight things my mom said to me that I will inevitably say to you, over and over again. One day, you’ll understand.
- “Eat! There are starving children in Africa!” If you could only comprehend how much effort goes into preparing you healthy meals. I may not show it, but it hurts every time you say, “Yuck!”
- “You can go first.” You may not notice yet, but moms take one for the team…a lot. I am the last to eat, and my dinner is often cold. I make sure each of you gets a cookie before I take one, and if there are no cookies left, I’m okay with that. I’m also okay with being the gumdrop when we play Candy Land, because for some reason, no one ever wants the gumdrop.
- “I do it because I love you.” It’s not fun being “the meanest mom in the world”, and it aches each time you call me that. But in order to keep you safe and help you become a responsible individual, sometimes I need to say “no.”
- “Here, let me help.” I see you struggling to color within the lines or write that “Z” in your name. You push me away because you want to do it your way. Please be patient with me; I only want to help you discover the world. Plus, I’m actually pretty good at writing Zs….
- “When I was your age…” From time to time, I may impart bits of wisdom on you, and you will most definitely cringe. Humor me; these are valuable lessons I have learned and they may come in handy some day. It’s bizarre, but I was your age once.
- “I just want what’s best for you.” I worry about you all the time. Sometimes I can’t sleep because I worry about your safety, your future; I worry about being a good mom to you. So when I get a little paranoid or snippety, understand that you are the most important thing in the world to me and you deserve the best.
- “I am your biggest fan.” I am that loud mom, cheering relentlessly from the bleachers—the one you’ll pretend you don’t know. It may be annoying, but just know that with every first crawl, first step, first word, I’ll be cheering you on. At every dance recital, soccer game, and spelling bee, I will be your number one fan, and whether you win or lose, I’m happy just to be there.
- “I will love you forever, no matter what.” From the instant I first felt you flutter, to the moment they laid you in my arms, I fell head over heels in love. You are a miracle and there is nothing you could do to change the deep, intrinsic love I have for you. Even when you say my food is yucky, even when you call me mean. I will always and forever be your momma and I will always love you.
Ever get frustrated when your kids don’t listen to these? Don’t lose your cool, we’re here to help.