Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you’re celebrating this holiday with spa treatments and champagne. But if you’re like me, you woke up at 5:30 a.m. and feigned delight when your daughter handed you an unwrapped Black and Decker Surface Polisher as a gift (seriously, but it’s actually been an incredible day).
I’ve been thinking a lot about Mother’s Day recently and how this one day is reserved to celebrate all that we do as mamas every other day of the year for our families, our homes, our careers, and, if we’re lucky, ourselves (I don’t need Mother’s Day; I need a Mother’s Month… preferably in Cabo).
As a working mama, I want so desperately to prove I can manage it all…but I can’t and routinely disappoint myself when I feel like I haven’t been the superhero mom my daughter deserves or needs.
I wanted to share something I learned this week about what our children actually need from us. It might seem wildly obvious to many of you, but it hit me like a ton of bricks….
I had a conversation with a friend who shared her experience being a foster parent. I want to respect her story and leave the details to a minimum, but she told me about a pair of sweet sisters who ended up in the foster care system because their birth mother was struggling.
Without hesitation, my friend had offered to take them. She didn’t yet have children of her own, had recently become engaged and was living in a new city; it would turn her life upside down, but that didn’t matter…she was willing to take on the role of “mother” to these young girls for as long as they needed her.
This could very well be the moral of this story: a mother is not just made through birth, but through the selfless act of giving—of yourself, of your time and your love—to a child. And while that is so true, that’s not where it ended.
As my friend made all the preparations to bring these girls home, their birth mother had resurfaced and said she was now prepared to care for her children. Immediately, I felt heartbroken for her…and for them.
“No,” she said. “That was the best place for them.”
“How?” I asked. Knowing how wonderful my friend is, and what a great mother she is now to her own small person, I couldn’t imagine that anyone could have cared for the girls any better.
“Because…,” she explained, “the best place for any child is with their mom. It may not look like how you or I might want it, but just being with their mom was the most important thing.”
It was a simple sentiment that hit me pretty hard.
It didn’t matter whether or not their mom was going to be a superhero mom, she was their mom and was ready to love them and keep them safe…and that was enough.
They just needed her. That’s it…just her.
I often get so stressed out with all the things I think I should be doing as a mom that I forget to remind myself that just being here is sometimes enough. We weigh ourselves down with the accessories of motherhood, and forget to give ourselves credit for the commitment of motherhood, day in and day out.
Our children don’t need us to be perfect, they need us to be present.
They don’t always need organic, flax seed muffins or Pinterest-worthy creative play activities. They just need us.
They don’t necessarily need the most expensive preschool or the entire collection of Paw Patrol. They just need us.
They will survive if some days we forget to brush their hair as we run out the door, or have to hurry through bedtime routine because our day has eaten us alive. They just need us.
They don’t need us to slay it, crush it, kill it, or nail it…they just need us.
They need our attention and our love and the stability of our presence. And even when we’re messy, imperfect, unfiltered and un-showered…they just need us.
Because regardless of the roads we take, the most valuable thing we can do as mothers is to be there. Every single day. And you are…so celebrate that today mama.