I posted on FB one day – “It’s 8:30 am, and I’m already exhausted by the number of times I’ve heard my name. Pray for me.”
My son was 2. It was sort of a joke, and sort of true.
Having a two-year-old with a very limited vocabulary was hard on him, and hard on me. He woke up in the morning trying to convey what was going on in his little head, and sometimes his mommy was with it enough to figure it out, but sometimes she was just too tired. He got frustrated, I got frustrated, and by 8:30 am, I would feel like I was at the end of my rope.
I got irritated as I put his oatmeal in front of him after not understanding his first request for breakfast. So, I asked him, “waffle or oatmeal” in an effort to have him articulate a need I can understand. He musters, “meal”. As he looks at his bowl, and takes a tiny bite, he keeps crying and saying mommy over and over and over. It’s all he can say just about, because I’m obviously not understanding something he needs and wants, and it felt like it was almost more than I could take.
We hurried through breakfast to rush brother to school, and I thought about how frustrating that word mommy had become to me. It was repeated over and over again all day long. By all three kids. I would almost cringe when I heard it, especially when it’s quite possible that between the three of them, they would say 1,700 times in a day. I would feel sad. Guilty, almost that this word that is so special and important and sacred had become the word that I wanted to hear the least.
A downward spiral of negativity is easy to fall into when you’re living in the day to day just trying to survive hearing mommy 300 more times before bedtime.
But, I realize now that being called mommy is the greatest gift.
I first had that spoken to my heart a few years ago in a quiet moment as I was unloading the spoons from the dishwasher.
“There are others who long to hear that word. I think to myself.
Your job as a mom is the most important work you could possibly be doing.”
There is so much more to me than mommy. There is so much more I could and can accomplish. But, one thing I do know, being a mom may not be everything, but it’s the most important thing.
In those early days, I realize now that I didn’t understand the enormity of my job and responsibility. I still don’t some days.
As much as my two year old was trying desperately to communicate in his little world, as a mother, I’m trying to do the same in mine. I’m trying to figure it all out, too.
So if you’re a mama like me, who is at the end of her rope and don’t think you can hear your name said one more time by little people that need something from you. I get it. I remember what that feels like.
You’re doing a good job.
Just know, that the gift of being called mommy is the best gift there is. And, you’ll survive it 382 more times before bedtime. Because that’s what moms do.
Meredith Ethington is a writer and a mom to three, trying to help her kids understand sarcasm and her need for personal space. Meredith’s debut parenting book, Mom Life: Perfection Pending, provides an uplifting yet realistic look at all that is expected of moms in the 21st century and is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at Absolute Love Publishing. She proudly writes for many of her favorite parenting sites, including Scary Mommy, Babble, Momtastic, and on her own blog. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where she loves to laugh at herself and admit that while parenting is the best thing ever, it’s also the hardest job on earth.