A Mother’s Worth

She is flawed, stitched together in the fabric of expectation and reality. She is expected to be a mother always with answers, comforting words and the missing sock. In reality, she is a mess herself, always feeling one step behind, always racing ahead of herself so that she is passing herself in the door of her life, counting down the moments instead of living them. She wants to perfect, the best wife, mother, sister, friend and daughter she can be. She gives everything of herself but feels as though no one gets anything, because she is stretched too thin. She thinks of herself as a failure of a mother sometimes. She feels guilty when she gets upset and raises her voice, knowing these are perfectly natural responses and she’s allowed to get upset, but feeling bad nevertheless. She realizes that even her bar is too high, that even she is human.

She doesn’t bring home a traditional paycheck. Her hours are not 9-5, her lunches not scheduled, her breaks rare. She is occupied every moment of the day, preparing meals, sorting and folding laundry, walking and feeding the dogs, tending to all of the small details of a house that make it a home. She fixes crayon marks on walls and bumps on bodies. She spends her hours repairing broken toys, and broken emotions. Countless nights have been spent laying on floors, of bedrooms and living rooms, tending to sick, aching bodies as they starve for rest, content on whatever surface will bring them even momentary comfort. She shares her food, her body, her soul with her children. Each moment she holds on to them a little tighter, while also letting them go, in the painful and rewarding realization that with each milestone they reach, they are one step closer to becoming independent adults. Motherhood has brought her the greatest joy and immeasurable sadness. The words, “I hate you,” have pierced her heart, said out of anger for a request that was not met with an immediate yes, and her heart has soared with each, “Mommy, I love you.”

Some may say that she is a just a housewife, and may question her skills, or what she will do with herself once her children are grown, no longer needing her constant supervision. She is aware that she will not be needed forever, but in this moment, she chooses to be her children’s source of comfort, their companion, and who they look to for encouragement. She will hold hands, mend hearts, and catch whiffs of their ever fading baby smell, knowing that these requests for cuddles will decrease. She will hold a little longer, love deeper, and hang on for as long as she can, because the days may seem to last forever, but the years are short.

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