What do you want to be when you grow up?
It’s a question we are asked as early as our preschool years.
A kid’s response usually changes a dozen times as they get older.
But my answer was always the same: a mom.
I knew I would figure out what I wanted to DO to earn a paycheck when I grew up. But what I actually wanted to BE? The answer was always in my heart.
I wanted to BE a mom more than anything else. I wanted to BE:
their tear wiper
their carpool driver
their back scratcher
their birthday party planner
their mac & cheese maker
their loudest cheerleader
their first teacher
their faithful listener
Why did I want to be a mom? Because my mom made it look like so much fun. She made it look magical. In my eyes, being a mom meant playing make-believe, laughing and telling stories. She never let us feel like her role as a mom was hard work. To her, it was natural. But isn’t that what moms do best? They shield their children from struggle, pain and defeat as long as they can. They work tirelessly so that the only thing their children see is the magic.
It wasn’t until I was in my mom’s shoes that I truly understood what it took.
Being a mom is more difficult of a job than I ever imagined. It takes blood, sweat and tears. It requires strength you didn’t know you had to deal with fears you didn’t know existed.
Being a mom is exhausting. I may have been able to function on 3 hours of sleep in college, but it’s a whole different ball game as an adult. Seriously. I can’t remember the last time when I didn’t feel tired.
Being a mom takes patience. More patience than I have on most days.
Being a mom takes sacrifice. Sacrifice of self. Of alone time. Of the food off my plate, which somehow looks more enticing even though it is the exact same thing sitting untouched on their plate.
Being a mom means letting go. Of perfection. Of a clean house. Of silence. Of sleep.
Being a mom can wear me out beyond comprehension. It can make me feel like I have failed. It comes with its low points, like sitting on the kitchen floor in tears eating cold watermelon while the baby sits in a carseat in front of the TV (see Mommin’ Ain’t Easy).
But, being a mom is also the most rewarding job. It is the ultimate title. Jobs throughout my career will come and go, but this one is forever.
Being a mom means learning the colors of the world all over again through the eyes of a child. Their imagination. Their creativity. Their innocence. Though these colors may have faded as I grew up, as a mom I am reminded how bright and brilliant they can be.
Being a mom is so rewarding. There is no greater joy than watching my children accomplish new things.
Being a mom is refreshing. No matter how difficult of a day I’ve had, it all washes away when I walk into the school and my little one comes running toward me arms open wide smiling from ear to ear shouting, “Mooooooooooommy!”
Being a mom is my greatest accomplishment. Yes there are days filled with struggle, pain and defeat. But when my oldest daughter is asked what she wants to be when she grows up, her answer is always the same: a mommy.
Her answer reassures me that I haven’t gotten it all wrong. It tells me that I’ve made this motherhood thing look like fun. That in my children’s eyes, being a mom means playing make-believe, laughing and telling stories. And it lets me know that I’ve succeeded because they don’t see the mess. All they see is the magic.
Being a mom isn’t just something I do. It is who I am.