When my husband and I first told our family that I was pregnant a mostly-kidding brother-in-law’s response was, “Why?”
It’s a fair question. If I listened to all I’ve been told over the past eight months raising a child is all about nine months of discomfort, then hours of extreme pain, followed by months of no sleep, and then 18 years of unbearable attitude. Yet, everyone who has these tales to tell does it with a smile that says, “You just can’t understand until you’ve experienced it.”
This Mother’s Day, because my own little girl isn’t due until next month, is my last chance to evaluate why I decided to do this to myself and what kind of mother I hope to be. Maybe this column is a good chance for me to voice my dreams and look back a year from now when I can understand a little better all the advice I’ve been receiving.
Motherhood to me is my chance to bring a child into this world and raise her in an environment I hope will be loving and caring, so that she might be able to take what I teach her and make the world a little better place to be.
I’m reaching for the stars here, I know, but in a perfect world isn’t that why we have kids? We want them to be better than we were and somehow we know there’s a lot we can learn from them. I want to learn from her how to love unconditionally and I want her to learn the same thing from me. I also hope to teach her how to be creative and enjoy little moments in every day.
I’ve been watching other mothers over the years to decide what kind of mom I want to be and now I’m going to have a chance to really make it all happen. I know there will be days when she’ll stay in pajamas, videos will be her only entertainment, and cold cereal will be a perfectly reasonable dinner, but in general I hope her days will be filled with learning and fun.
I admire the mothers who make a big deal out of every little holiday, with themed crafts and dinners that make it feel like every day is special. I also admire the mothers like my own who support their kids in every thing they show interest in, even if it means they may have to sit through some long and screeching band concerts or fake excitement over a poorly written “novel.”
I hope I’m the kind of mom who plays with my daughter. I want to get on the floor with her and design a dream doll house or color in her coloring books. If she wants to go outside and play soccer, we’ll do that too. I want to build a relationship with her while she’s young so that when she’s older she’ll feel like she can talk to me.
Sometimes I do get scared. What if she does pick up that attitude everyone else seems to talk about? What if she doesn’t learn the positive things I want her to? What if she wears the wrong clothes, gains the wrong friends and decides she hates the world? These are all normal concerns for a mother, right? And I suppose that’s why someone invented Mother’s Day. To give mom’s a once-a-year reminder that even when we feel like nothing is going the way we always planned and dreamed — that kid still loves you. And isn’t that what made you want to be a mother in the first place?
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