If you’re a parent, chances are you have come to understand what a truly exhausting, difficult, thankless role it really is. Don’t get me wrong, parenthood is filled with joy, laughs, and indescribable love – it’s awesome, but there is a lot more to it than baby snuggles and cute clothes.
Growing up, I never recognized what was going on behind the scenes of how my mom and dad raised me. I mean, I knew I always had food to eat, clothes to wear, and school supplies, but as far as how I got from point A to point B…forget about it. When you’re a kid, life just happens. You wake up, eat food that was made for you, put on clothes that have been laid out, and then carry on about your day – totally 100% focused on YOU. It’s after you become the parent that you experience a massive culture shock on what goes in to taking care of another human being.
After a particularly hard day, topped with a few glasses of wine, and a couple of whining texts later to some close friends, I realized there were some things I probably never thanked my mother for; and I’m willing to bet neither did you.
1. Potty training you. No, but seriously, stop what you’re doing right now and go thank your mom (or dad). While it may be a subconscious thought for us as adults…at least most of us, potty training is no different from learning to swim or ride a bike. It’s something you have to actively learn, and it’s surprisingly exhausting. While you more than likely don’t remember being potty trained, I’m willing to bet the pangs of teaching you to expel bodily fluids into a toilet, still haunt your mother to this day. Go thank her for making sure you didn’t go off to college wearing a diaper.
2. Covering you up while you slept. Without a hitch my mom would check on me every single night until I moved out of the house, and probably still does on the rare occasion when I come back home. It’s instinctual for a parent to protect their babes – we are hardwired to nurture what we’ve created, and that includes making sure our kiddos aren’t curled up in a ball in the middle of the night while their blankets lay in a pile on the floor. In other words, even after you were sleeping through the night, your mom wasn’t. Which really means you’ve kept her from getting a good night’s sleep since you were born.
3. Making sure you didn’t starve. Okay, how many times did your mom cook something for dinner and you made your disgust more than obvious for what she had put together that evening?
Now that the tables have turned and I’m the one preparing three meals a day (not including an afternoon snack), it genuinely bothers me when my family shows distaste for what I have whipped up. I mean, we could have just ordered a pizza and saved me over an hour of my life I can’t get back all so you can fight me tooth and nail on taking a bite. So please, thank your mother for caring enough to make you food, even if it wasn’t your favorite thing to eat. She more than likely didn’t want to spend that time preparing a meal, serving you before herself, and then cleaning up the mess just to be greeted with grumbling and moaning over steamed green beans. Eat them – they’re good for you.
4. Carrying you when you were tired. Allow me to let you in on a little secret, when you’re tired, your mom is about three times more exhausted. So when she would carry you after you couldn’t take another step, she was showing more strength and love in that moment than it will ever receive credit for. Of course she loved getting in those extra snuggles, but the reality is, her arms probably went numb and she got a cramp in her back.
5. Being your personal napkin. Do I really need to expand on this one? Our moms have sacrificed their own outfits regularly to clean up our snot, drool, and food covered faces, along with countless tears and bouts of spit up. They are our kleenex in human form.
6. Holding on to your trash. For years I thought my mother was the Houdini of disappearing trash. No matter where we were or what I had that needed to get thrown away, I would just hand it to my mom and it would magically vanish. Now that I’m a parent, I have discovered that she wasn’t performing magic tricks, but was rather simply creative. I’ve got trash in all kinds of places; cup holders, pockets, empty water bottles. It’s disgusting, but someone has to rid the world of rubbish – even if that means holding it in your own hands so your kids don’t have to.
7. Giving up her weekends. Not only did your parents pay for your extracurricular activities, but they made sure you got to them on time (for the most part) with all of your equipment in tow. They chose to not sleep in, but rather, woke up early to prepare breakfast, double-checked the bags, and got dressed all before getting you out of bed. Your mom dedicated hour after hour, weekend after weekend to you and your desires before ever even thinking of herself. Aren’t you glad you had a mom who so willingly signed you up for cheer camps, piano lessons, and tee ball?
8. Doing your laundry. Holy moly….the loads of laundry a mother does is immeasurable. The number of socks folded, stains removed, and pieces hung are more than the stars in the sky. Not a day goes by that there isn’t a load of laundry either in the washer, dryer (for multiple days), or in a basket in the middle of the living room. There is ALWAYS laundry to do, and mom is the one who does it.
This point can also apply to spouses. My husband hasn’t cleaned his own clothes in over six years. SIX YEARS. You should definitely say thank you regularly to the broad who washes your dirty underwear and favorite t-shirt.
9. Keeping you safe. From the moment the nurse placed you in your mother’s arms, she knew she would do anything for you. Regardless of the physical pain she felt in that moment, it was as if you gave her superhuman strength (which means you are pretty much a modern-day radioactive spider).
Interestingly enough, parents tend to get bad raps for the decisions they make to protect their babes. So let me clear something up, any time I tell you to get down, watch your fingers, or just give you a flat-out no, it is 100% not because I’m being mean, but because I love you! I baked you from scratch and I would like to keep you in one piece.
10. Knowing everything about you. I know that Noah prefers the color blue over red – blue toothbrush, blue plate, blue puree. I know that Emmett needs to eat every couple of hours or he gets hangry. Noah will always pick sandals over flip-flops, and Emmett’s favorite books are by Eric Carle. Emmett won’t eat raspberries, and Noah hates peas. They both sleep better with a fan on.
Your mom knows everything about you. Everything. She’s the reason your go to snack is always stocked in the pantry, and why your favorite TV show is recorded on the DVR. She knows about your hobbies, your dislikes, and your dreams. Your world is her world. How awesome is it that someone loves you that much??
So here is to all of the moms (and dads) – thank you for being our chef, nurse, maid, chauffeur, and everything in between. Thank you for always having our back, and going the extra mile, even when no one was looking. Thank you loving us unconditionally. Thank you for teaching us what it means to be a great parent.
PS. I Am Mom.
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