We may all have come to motherhood differently, with different expectations, for different reasons. But on the really bad days—the ones that start at 6 AM, after the kids have gotten me out of bed ten times (no exaggerating) during the night, where my patience is threadbare before both children have finished breakfast—in my heart of hearts, I’m afraid that I’m one of those people who should never be a mother.
Really, I know that’s not true. I know that this is what I’m supposed to do, and I’ve always known it. At my high school graduation, they had us fill out a slip of paper with our top three career choices. I put down writer and, after some thought, mother.
As I recall, I couldn’t think of a third.
But even if motherhood hasn’t been the destination you’ve envisioned since high school, you are meant to be a mother. If your arms have ever hungered for a child—if you’ve ever struggled with your children all day, only to miss them the minute they’re asleep—if you’ve ever marveled that this perfect little person, this growing, intelligent, sweet, forgiving child, could be yours—
If you have ever loved your child—
You are meant to be a mother.
Okay, I know, it’s kind of a “duh.” I mean, without our mothers, where would any of us be? Not here, I’ll tell you that .
My mother on Rebecca’s birthday
But other than that whole biological necessity thing, mothers are important—and not just to make sure that everyone is fed, rested, at school on time, and not without clean underwear.
In a couple minutes, I found a number of scientific studies confirming just how influential mothers are:
- If you, as the mother, are the food buyer and preparer, you controls 72% of all of the food decisions of your children and spouse (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Sept 2006).
- Mothers’ behavior (specifically, treatment of tantrums/frustration in problem solving) has been linked to their children’s problem-solving abilities (Developmental Psychology).
- Parents influence teens’ attitudes toward drugs, alcohol and substance abuse quite heavily (Child Development).
- Moms even influence whether their teens seek medical care (The Journal of Adolescent Health).
- Mothers’ disapproval of teen sex (surprisingly) discourages teen sexual and being close to a 14- or 15-year-old daughter also delays or decreases sexual activity.
- This influence against sex, drugs and alcohol lasts through college, especially when parents and children are emotionally close (Journal of Youth and Adolescence).
- In fact, mothers have been shown to influence their children’s psychological and physical health through old age—and I mean the kids’ old age, not just ours (The National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development).
- Mothers even influence fathers, especially how involved they are early on in their children’s lives.
It’s easy to look around at the mountain of laundry, the mound of dirty dishes, the teenager’s filthy room we told her to clean fifteen times, the full plate of food the toddler refused to eat, and the grade schooler’s last-minute order of three dozen cupcakes for a class party tomorrow and feel like we’re not important—as if we don’t matter. Yes, being a mother does involve a lot—a lot—of grunt work.
But every once in a while, at least, we need to remember that motherhood is more than chores.
Motherhood is eternally important.
Motherhood is important because being a mother means teaching and guiding future generations. We do make a difference—they do understand and internalize the principles we try so hard to teach them—and they will be better for our efforts.
Why do you think being a mother is important?
I’ve been a mom for over three years now and a mom blogger for almost that long—and pretty much the whole time, I’ve been thinking about and working toward finding (building) personal fulfillment as a mother. So far, however, my blogging on the subject has been as piecemeal as my personal efforts.
But more and more recently I’ve been thinking about finding a real “path” to fulfillment, a process that works for more people than just me. So as I’ve thought about this, I’ve come up with a few “real” steps:
Not every step will apply to every one, of course, and they’re not in any particular order. But I think that some/most/all of these things can help all of us progress to feeling more valued as a mother, and possibly more connected to one another.
I’ll be writing on these topics in the coming weeks. If you have any other ideas or ideas relating to the steps described here, feel free to leave them in the comments or send them to blog (at) mamablogga.com .
Coming tomorrow: the 7 Best MamaBlogga Blogging Tips Ever!