. . .written not only for Mother’s Day (Sunday May 13 in South Africa) but also for the Blogging Chicks Carnival, hosted this week by Girls Can’t What?
For this Mother’s Day, I’m going to ask an age old and oft debated question, and I’m going to try and answer it my own way. I’m not going to rehash all the MS PowerPoint slideshows I’ve ever received; and I’m not going to quote all the “a story to make you cry” emails from the last 10 years. At least, I’m going to try not to. I’m also not going to threaten you with unfulfilled wishes, bad dreams, unexplained weight gain and/or re-growth of unwanted body hair if you don’t read or comment on this post… at least, not out loud. So here goes.
What makes a woman a mom?
There’s a teenage boy living in my flat who calls me mom. I carried him inside me for nine months, I gave birth to him and I breastfed him. I pay for his schooling and I feed and clothe him. I buy him things and throw parties for him. I take him to the doctor and nurse him when he’s sick and I make sure he takes his ADHD meds.
Does all that make me a mom?
Not in my opinion.
Anyone can do the things I have listed above. Almost every woman on this planet is physically capable of carrying, birthing and nursing a baby. Every person who has a job and earns a salary is capable of feeding, clothing and schooling a child.
So what makes a woman a mom?
My mom is a mom because. . . no matter the circumstances, she’ll try and help out any one of her four children.
. . . she’ll help out whilst letting us learn from our mistakes at the same time.
. . . no matter what any of the four of us has done, she loves us all the time.
. . . she worries about her children’s health and wellbeing even though we’re grownups.
. . . her children love and respect her.
. . . she’s not afraid to tell us, gently but firmly, if she thinks we’re doing something that will hurt us or others.
. . . if we need to talk, she’ll listen.
. . . God gave her the grace and the empathy to do a job and do it well- a job that few others can do.
So what makes me a mom?
I am a mom because. . . my son is on my mind all the time.
. . . I worry everyday that he’s made it to school and back home okay.
. . . I worry when he visits his friends on his bicycle- because it’s so easy for him to get hurt.
. . . I always had toys and little boy stuff in my handbag when he was younger.
. . . I still end up with his stuff in my handbag- only now it’s his cell phone slash wallet slash house keys.
. . . I always have wet wipes in my car’s cubbyhole.
. . . I only ever have Garfield or Mickey Mouse band aids in my house.
. . . I know exactly how much marmite to put on my son’s sandwiches.
. . . we argue over whether his homework is finished and when his assignments are due.
. . . if my son scrapes his knee or cuts himself, I can actually feel his pain.
. . . I know exactly how my son will react to things that happen in his day.
. . . like it or not- I make sure my son has condoms in his wallet… just in case.
. . . I trust my son to choose his friends without my interference.
. . . I feel compelled to gently tell my son how I feel about his friends.
. . . I think my son is the best looking kid on the planet.
. . . I want to photograph everything he does.
. . . I worry about what’s going to happen one day when my son meets his father.
. . . I wonder if any girlfriend he has will ever be good enough for him in my mind.
. . . I can kiss a bruise or hug a broken heart till its all better.
. . . I can admire the snakes, frogs, bones and bugs he brings home from his explorations.
. . . it breaks my heart to see him hurt in any way.
. . . I want to take on anyone who dares question my son’s integrity or morals… even if they may be right.
. . . I allow my son to make us breakfast or coffee without complaining (much) about the mess.
. . . if my son gets hurt- I more often than not shout first and then kiss it better!
. . . I go to check on my son and kiss him goodnight every night when I go to bed.
. . . when I read him a story I use all the requisite noises and voices.
. . . I have prayed over and over again that he won’t remember me losing my temper when I did.
. . . I talk about things like wet dreams and pornography so my son won’t hear garbage from someone else.
. . . I want every one of my son’s birthdays and Christmases to be special and unforgettable!
. . . when my son smiles at me my heart wants to burst.
. . . when my son gives me a hug or a kiss, everything is right with the world again.
. . . looking at my son’s baby pictures can make me bawl like a baby myself.
. . . I feel a twinge of guilt when I can’t give my son everything he wants, even though I know he has enough.
. . . I feel so bad when he gets a family tree to complete for class and can only fill in half of it.
. . . someone asking me if I am my son’s mom puts me instantly on the defensive.
. . . I have no less than 31 pictures of my son on me at all times- in my brag book and in my wallet.
. . . I pray every day to do right by my boy.. . . I love my son more everyday, no matter what happens.