ALL THAT A MOTHER DOES

I couldn’t write a list of all the things that a mother does…the list would never end and I’d be writing for days.  There are the mundane things when a baby is born; changing diapers; carefully tending to raw rear ends from diaper rash; getting up in the middle of the night to feed and burp and soothe; reading stories at bedtime; cooing and talking baby talk; running to the doctor’s office for ear infections, colds, chicken pox and everything in between.  A mother is a nurse, a babysitter…the total caregiver in every sense of the word and on call twenty-four hours, seven days a week.

When they are a little bit older you can add these things to the list:  There’s potty training; teaching social skills and manners; teaching them how to spell and count; playing games or doing anything to entertain them.  A mom is a teacher.

When your children are school age your life centers on more societal aspects of their lives:  will they fit in; who will their friends be; will they be treated right; will they adapt to new things; homework; taking the bus; after school activities; social life.  A mom takes on the task of the advocate or the fixer.

Once ensconced in the everyday life of a teenager a mother these days does a fair bit of worrying:  what kind of a driver will they be; how will I let them get in a car with someone else driving; will they get into drugs or alcohol; are they being bullied; will they do well enough in school to get into college; are they happy?  A mom has to be a driving teacher, an enforcer of rules, a guidance counselor, a college recruiter, a great listener, a giver of advice (only if asked), a barometer.

Fast forward.  Your children graduate college.  They leave home.  Your house is empty.  All these jobs you’ve been doing for over twenty years are no longer a part of your life.  You are supposed to adapt quickly when the rug has been pulled right out from underneath you, when your emotions are at their rawest. 

You are supposed to be happy; this is what you have worked so hard for!  For their independence, good work ethic, intelligence, amiability, freedom! AND YOU ARE HAPPY! 

But, there is also sadness…the sadness that comes from losing your job, a job that meant more to you than anything in the world…and the sadness that comes from missing those special cuddles when they were small and only needed you; when they sat on your lap and listened with rapt attention to everything you said; when their world was only you.

No one said it would be easy and it certainly isn’t.  But, that’s what a mother does.

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11 Comments

  1. September 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Amy, very well written and is filled with absolute truth throughout. We, as Mom’s, wear many hats. Sometimes it’s wonderful and happy, but sometimes we feel sad……sad because everything has changed. Suddenly we aren’t needed much any more. We feel such a deep loss when they grow up and leave us…it’s like, what do I do now? Us Mom’s must stick together to encourage and support one another. Being a Mom is one of the hardest and BEST jobs I’ve ever had !

  2. lapetinaa said,

    September 20, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you, Min. I knew you would relate to this; we share the same feelings about a lot of things. xxx

  3. Becky Westcott said,

    September 21, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Ames….so well written. You have not hit the next stage as your boys are alot younger than my son. When they get older (36) there comes a different type of “job”. You become a different kind of confidant and friend as well as good old Mom. To me this is a special time. As my son’s children get older he is realizing that it did take alot of be a Mom and as he likes to tell me often….YOU WERE AND ARE A GREAT MOM! That means everything to me. He is raising his boys alone and they think the sun rises with him as it should be. He thought that way about me and now he is seeing it on his end. What goes around comes around in the very best possible ways! He has made me so proud. Love ya, Becky Westcott

    • lapetinaa said,

      September 21, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Becks, I’m really looking forward to that next stage you talk about. I can’t even imagine what it feels like to be a grandmother and I hope I get that chance. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to reply. xxxxxx

  4. Pamela Garrison said,

    September 21, 2012 at 11:43 am

    The whole point of raising children is to prepare them to be able to be succesful on their own. In the old days, kids didn’t move away from their parents as much. Anyone who says they wouldn’t mind having their kids move away probably has their kids close by. Mine live in the same state but of either one moved far, I would be sad. However, the most important thing is that they’re happy.

  5. lapetinaa said,

    September 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Even when there is some sadness because they are far from you the most important thing is that they are happy. That’s what it’s all about.

  6. September 24, 2012 at 11:30 am

    As the loss becomes more manageable, bit by bit and day by day, a new freedom is possible, when you get to focus a bit more on your own life and a little bit less on theirs. I both honor your grief and celebrate the happiness of your knowing – children setting out into their own lives is a testament to a job well done. I look forward to hearing about all the new opportunities and discoveries that are sure to come your way in the next phase of your life.

  7. lapetinaa said,

    September 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you, Beth. I am doing okay because I know that both of my kids are in a good place right now and I am beginning the process of finding a life for myself. Those maternal instincts just don’t disappear, though, so I’m still not sure what to do with those needs.

  8. October 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    […] Amy Lapetina, Seasons of Life. Amy is a relative newcomer to blogging. I am nominating her for this award for bravely going where her blog takes her, regardless of what others may think. Going forward looking forward to hearing more of her thoughts. […]

  9. Barry Katz said,

    October 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Amy (and Pam), my adult kids are scattered far and wide (DC, Northern CA, Boulder CO and Washington DC). I do miss seeing them as often, but make sure that we make the best of every minute when we do get together. I also love the times we live in that allow us to email, chat, skype, etc. I must admit that our house has never felt quite empty.

    • lapetinaa said,

      October 17, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      With all the fostering that you do, Barry, how could your house feel empty?!! You are one in a million!


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