When talking about motherhood, the words exhausting, challenging, stressful, rewarding and fun might come to mind. Sometimes it can even be injurious. Mothers are always on the front lines and certainly earn the kudos they receive on Mother's Day.
OK, I'm a stay-at-home dad, but I'll be the first to admit that mothers deserve every word of praise uttered in every Mother's Day card on the shelf. They have an inherent ability to shuttle kids to soccer, help with homework, referee sibling squabbles, run the vacuum, volunteer in the classroom and stir macaroni and cheese all at the same time. Then at the end of the day, they quietly slip into a coma only to wake up the next morning energized as if having been injected with vitamin B12 and Red Bull.
In true Hallmark fashion, it's mothers who teach young girls how to become young ladies and good mothers. They teach young boys how to become young men and good fathers. They patch the wounds and nurture away the pain. They can speak volumes without uttering a single word. A simple facial expression says, "You are not walking out that door until you eat a good breakfast, have your homework done and change that shirt!" At the same time, it's a simple facial expression that says you are forgiven and have her unconditional love and support.
But those are not the only reasons that a mother's place is on a pedestal. It's not so much the endless service they provide for children; it's their dedication to their craft.
Mothers are devoted
Case in point, one night while we were visiting my wife's sister, my wife and our 8-year-old daughter were out playing in the yard. Suddenly my daughter rushed into the house saying "Mom's hurt!" We hurried outside and found her pulling herself up from the sidewalk grasping her hand. We gathered her up and drove to the emergency room. On the way, she shared with us the story of what happened. She was riding my daughter's scooter and hit a crack in the sidewalk. The event that followed could probably be used in an action movie.
Two hours, three stitches, eight bandages and a mummified hand later, we were on our way home. Normally this event might be construed as a one-time freak accident that occurred while my wife was playing with one of her daughters. However, this was the third episode in a series of fractured bones, bruises, sprained ankles and lacerations that she has suffered during play time.
Mothers set an example
Mothers (literally) teach by example. That time-honored phrase that moms are famous for, "I hope you're wearing clean underwear in case you get in an accident," is not just for the kids' benefit. We had another occasion that involved taking mom to the emergency room. She hobbled into the house with her ankle throbbing with pain from a trampoline accident (again playing with our young daughter). She said, "I know that my ankle is the size of a cantaloupe and we need to go to the emergency room. But before we go, I need my other pair of shoes and to shave this leg. It's a girl thing; just go with it!" Who was I to argue under those circumstances?
Through it all, I have yet to find that perfect greeting card that says, "You might be a mother if you have broken your hand while playing tag, sprained your ankle while jumping on the trampoline or have sustained more skinned knees than any 8-year-old on the planet."
Mothers know what is important
Naturally, you can't go out in public wearing a cast without receiving a barrage of, "What happened?" from everyone you see. After explaining to everyone how she injured her hand, she kept hearing the same perhaps-you-should-start-acting-your-age chorus. Her response is always, "When I'm playing with my kids, it's more important that I do what they want and act their age."
Greek mythology portrays Athena, the great Olympian goddess as the embodiment of wisdom, reason and purity. She was strong, fair and merciful. These qualities symbolize the pure essence of motherhood. As a stay-at-home dad, I think I can change diapers and chauffeur kids with the best of them. But it is the mother who suits up and gets into the game.
Mothers create lasting memories
These visits to the emergency room and the playground battle wounds that my wife proudly displays have become standing jokes within the family. But they have also become some of the most memorable experiences that my kids will cherish throughout their lives.
Children move through life so fast. They might outgrow their clothes, shoes, toys and the teddy bear wallpaper. But they will never outgrow their memories of when mom got on her hands and knees and "got into the game." The best gifts that you can give your children are the memories of when you spent time with them. To create these memories, spend time doing what your children like to do.