During my pregnancy I had it all mapped out. When my baby turned one, I would go to work and use the Master’s Degree I earned. That was my plan up until the day my son was born. I looked into his little brown eyes and knew no position I held would be more important than being with this tiny human being. Six and a half years later, and mothering is still my primary job.
Why did I choose not to go back to work? Because my child needed me. He was not fond of being too far away from me, or his milk on tap, and I couldn’t see how it would be possible for me to leave him. That was the first time I realized how much love my son had for me, or his milk ;). I had many people ask me when I planned to use my degree and wonder if I was bored being just a mom. To be clear, for me, there is no “just” before that ever important title.
Being a mom means I meet my children where they are and honor their needs numerous times a day. I hug them, hold them, cry with them and most importantly share in their joy. I express all of my emotions and let them see what it means to be human. Most of all, I love being silly with my boys. Really letting go and laughing. And to be honest, being with my children brings me joy. My sons are my friends.
Some days don’t go as smoothly as I would like. I raise my voice too many times because someone is not listening. The boys are fighting. The house is a mess. I haven’t yet brushed my teeth and it is time for lunch. These are the days when I really need to step back and see what is needed to get back in the groove. Most often, the difficult days happen when I haven’t set aside time for my yoga practice, I didn’t get enough sleep, or we aren’t eating quality foods. My children are a reflection of me and when I haven’t taken the time to be with myself and center, they remind me I am overdue. Once I set aside the time for a deep breath or a good cry, I am able to refocus and regain my presence.
The slogan for the Peace Corps is, “The toughest job you’ll ever love.” As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I can say that for me mothering is by far the toughest job I will ever love.
Now, by the small body of my sleeping son
the hidden river in my chest flows with my son’s
and I time my speech to the rhythm of his breath
joining my night with his, singing his night song
as if those waters underground
were secret rivers washing through the soul
bringing out the untold life
which is the stream he’ll join in growing old,
in silent hours when his sureness
of his self recedes. There he’ll find
the rest between the solid notes
that make the song worthwhile.
From “Looking Back at Night,”
Where Many Rivers Meet