I don't know that I ever really knew who I was until I was a mother. Maybe its because it takes a good 25 years on this earth before you can really step back and be comfortable with being you, or maybe its because I never felt like I had a purpose. I went to work, came home, lived my life. But it all seemed like I was going through the motions. When people asked me where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be when I grew up, I had no answer.
I spent most of my childhood and teenage years overly concerned with those around me. I cared what they thought and I cared what they did. I developed personal opinions of what being cool was, what I had to do to accomplish it, and why I wasn't cool if I didn't own all name brand jeans. Do Tommy Hilfiger jeans make you cool? Cause $80 later I still felt the same. And that's $80 earned working at McDonald's for $5 an hour, those jeans should've made me the coolest person alive for that price.
The first part of my life I wasn't unhappy, but I was never fulfilled. I always felt like something was missing, but it turns out it wasn't really something, it was someone. Three someones actually.
The first time I held Alana I felt suddenly at peace, as if my whole life until that point had built up to that moment. With my other hooligan children I felt like my family was now that much more complete, like I didn't even know what I was missing until right at that second when my life was forever altered by that one tiny person whose butt fit into my hand so perfectly.
Motherhood isn't perfect, but it helped me figure out what I wanted, which was apparently to live in a house ruled by tiny loud people who insist I feed and clothe them. Motherhood is sometimes sunshine and lollipops, and other times its temper tantrums which aren't always thrown by the children and tears. Its hugs and kisses and protests at bedtime, then a sense of relief that they're FINALLY ASLEEP, but a little pang of now I kind of miss them. Not enough to wake them up, but you know, just a little bit. Motherhood takes a lot out of you, but it gives back twice as much. Its the most exhausting job I've ever had, but it comes with cookies and small little people who give hugs so tight you feel like your heart might burst.
Everyday of my life is spent putting their needs before mine, getting up at sunrise because my little farmer boy is an early riser, making lunches for Alana because one time the school lunch burrito had green chiles in it and she's still mad, and countlessly reminding Ava that I don't respond to whining, even though Whinese is her first language, she's bilingual like that.
Motherhood isn't based on a grand gesture. I can't just show up once in awhile with some toys and a box of popsicles and expect that my children took care of themselves in my absence. Its an all day, every day thing. I can't clock out, I don't really get vacations. Being a mother is about what you do, day in and day out. Little things that shape your day, and your kid's day. Those days turn into weeks, that turn into months, that turn into years. Its what you do in that time that shows who you are to your children. If you are happy, and a hardworker, and patient, and kind, and loving, and that is what your children see from you day after day, then that is how they will remember you.
I'm not always happy. I'm certainly not always patient. But even when I've run out of patience and sanity for the day, I try to tell myself that I only want my children to be slightly dysfunctional, just enough to be funny you know? I want my kids to remember me for the mostly good things I do for them, instead of the moments when I feel like hiding in my closet and eating cookies. On good days I eat cookies out in the open, bad days make me less willing to share them.
Daily things are the most accurate representation of who we are, anyone can be patient for one day, it takes a lot more effort to be patient ALL THE TIME. I'm unsure if its humanly possible at this point, but I keep trying, even though some nights I feel like I was less than kind at least half of the day. I vow to do better, but that doesn't always pan out. I keep on trucking along anyways, what choice do I have. I'm outnumbered by children, and frankly sometimes husbands are more like another giant child than anything else, not that I know anything about that from personal experience. I keep on going, every single day, because I want my kids to have a mother who is always there to help them, no matter what. They deserve that, plus someday I can make them do my laundry.
The act of mothering is in the daily routine, and in the love you show in small gestures. So I will bake cookies, fold laundry, braid hair, and wipe noses, its kind of my job and I take it seriously. Out of patience or not, I'm still the mommy around here, and I wouldn't have it any other way.