You are Always Mothering: A tribute to my mother

It is my mom’s birthday today. She celebrated her birthday thirty-one years ago, in the hospital recovering from her c-section that brought me into this world. I was breech, and planned, so she got to pick my birthday, and wisely decided we should each get our own space.

I learned a lot from my mom. A lot. My favorite thing I ever learned from her is that you can do anything, learn anything, as long as there is a book on it at the public library. But the thing that has been sticking with me lately, in this crazy busy season of my life is this:

You are always mothering. 

Not like, every single thing you do makes a difference so make all decisions based on Pinterest. Not like, you better get this right or your kid will pay the price. Not in the perfection is the goal, here is your shame cycle kind of way so many of us fall into.

You are always mothering.

As in, you are your child’s mother, so the choices you are making are as their mother. So when you go away for the weekend to be with a relative, you are mothering them. And when you make the choices that are best for your family, you are mothering. And it is good.

You are always mothering.

We had piano lessons on Thursdays. It was important to my mom that we got a musical education. This meant two years of piano lessons. Period. Then we got to pick. I am grateful for the background in music. Taking us to piano was my mother, mothering. But the part I tucked away into my heart was the part after piano. We went to Little Caesar’s and then we all made a salad when we got home. My mom was into healthy eating way before there was a campaign about it. And it was okay for us to have pizza on Thursdays, we all grew up understanding what a balanced meal looks like.

You are always mothering.

My mom worked part time when I was little. I was maybe four and I have these distinct memories of following her around on the campus of the University of Toledo. I remember the way her heals clicked on the sidewalk. I remember the cool spiral stairs we took to her office. I remember the way the copy room smelled. I loved watching her in her fancy red trench coat. I remember thinking my mother was so elegant and glamouros. I liked watching her put on lipstick in her bathroom mirror before we went out. I liked the way that smelled too.

You are always mothering.

Later, I think I was in the first grade, my mom went back to work full time as a speech and English instructor at a local community college. All the time her students stopped us. In the pharmacy, in the grocery store, at a park, my mother’s students wanted to say hello to her, thank her for the work she did, and then lean down to tell me that I was lucky to have such a big hearted mother, that I was lucky to look just like her. I remember that. I’ve always wanted to change the world, and these people taught me that she did. I don’t think it is an accident I am now an English teacher.

You are always mothering.

I don’t resent the times I walked into the house to a note that told me when to turn on the crock pot. I am grateful to have known early how awesome the crock pot is. I think about my mom when I use my crock pot, when I make dinner with my work clothes still on, when I write lists on the backs of the envelopes for junk mail. (It is a thing, as my sisters.) I had an awesome example of a working mom and I am very grateful to have had that.

I don’t resent the times we had pizza, she couldn’t do the field trips, she wasn’t their when we got home. I remember the things she was good at (and they are many). She was always my mom, even when she was working. You know that last part is true because I still have the community college’s phone number memorized! And she was always mothering.

So stay home, or work. Cloth diaper or not. Feed your kids pizza sometimes and don’t feel bad about it. Make whatever choices you need to make because those are the choices that are best for your family. Then don’t stress about it. Just because you aren’t with your kids, or you are and you need a break some time, or any of the numerous things that throw us into the not good enough mom pit, doesn’t mean you aren’t mothering. You are the mother.

You are always mothering. 

7 thoughts on “You are Always Mothering: A tribute to my mother

  1. Gosh, Abby, this is so encouraging: “I remember that. I’ve always wanted to change the world, and these people taught me that she did. I don’t think it is an accident I am now an English teacher.” What a wonderful reflection on a working mother. This is beautiful.

  2. Pingback: All the Vulnerable Things and Declaring it Napvember What I am into October 2013 | Accidental Devotional

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