What Motherhood Means to Me

I became a mom 5 years ago and words will never be able to describe this incredible gift we call motherhood. But since words are all I have, I will attempt to describe what motherhood has meant to me these past years.

Motherhood is beautiful and messy, it’s full and empty, it’s never-a-dull-moment and tedious, it’s life-giving and physically draining, it’s joyous and nerve-wracking, it’s happy tears, it’s sad tears. Motherhood means I’ll never be able to watch a movie from beginning to end or go to the bathroom undisturbed. It means I could spend all day picking up toys and putting them in their places, and by the end of the day, still have a living room floor filled with toys. Motherhood means that someone is always demanding my attention. There’s always a dance move to watch, a scary monster to run away from, an amazing feat to clap for, or a fairy tale character to play. It means that my heart now lives outside of my body (in two different places), and I’m constantly worried about it being broken. It means that I never have enough time, enough hands, enough energy, or enough sleep.

Motherhood means I always feel guilty – when my daughter is at school, when my son is with the sitter, when I’m at work, when they’re asleep, when I’m with them, when I’m not with them. Guilt is the default feeling and I’m learning to accept that it may always be there as long as I’m a mom, so I just do my best. It means that I’m constantly questioning myself, whether I’m setting a good example or if I’m teaching them the “correct” things. It means that I have to make really, really difficult decisions about their diet, their education, their health, their everything, and I don’t always feel like I’m qualified for the job.

Motherhood is reliving the magic of my childhood all over again. It’s smelling flowers, barefoot on the grass, talking to animals and trees, digging in the dirt. It’s playing captain of a pirate ship, hunting for hidden treasures, flying on unicorns, and saving the world. It’s gazing at the stars on a summer night when the warm breeze carries the subtle scent of lavender to our noses. It’s frantically running from one thing to another when my daughter points it out, and I realize in that moment that there’s never anything worth being so anxious about. It’s learning from these mini-humans how much of my humanness I’ve lost along the way to adulthood. It’s seeing through them what life is really about and slowly discovering how to live again.

Above all, motherhood is the precious, tender moment when I take a breath, a step back from my whirling mind, and all that’s there between me and these little beings is LOVE – the sweetest, purest, all-encompassing love I’ve ever felt. A love that runs deep in my bones and all through my veins, so strong that it actually frightens me. And in a split second, I’m filled with fear for losing it all because I understand the fragility of being human, the fleetingness of it all. But in the end, I learn to be okay with that because I’ve been given the opportunity to feel a love that’s so overwhelmingly profound.

On this Mother’s Day, I want to honor mothers of ALL kinds – mothers to children, mothers to pets, those desperately trying to become mothers, single mothers, working mothers, stay-at-home mothers, mothers who loved and lost, and mother figures to children who are not their own. This holiday celebrates all of us – the nurturers, the caretakers, the compassionate, the resilient, the tough-as-nails yet soft as velvet women of the world. And remember to always celebrate yourself. Don’t wait for a holiday, a flower bouquet, or a card to tell you how magnificent you are. You are the true superheroes of this world. Please never, ever forget that.

Have a happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

With love – Thuy

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