In fifth grade we made dream catchers at school. Our schools theme that year was “catch the dream,” and so in the center of each one, on a piece of clay, we carved what it was we wanted to be when we grew up. I wrote mother on mine. And that is when the teasing started. For a whole school day I was the class joke, and my fifth grade self was pretty devastated. When our dream catchers were finally taken down weeks later, I cut the clay piece out of mine before taking it home.
Reflecting upon that now I wonder why it was that it was so humorous to my classmates at the time and why even today motherhood is sometimes viewed as oppressive and shameful. I wish that I hadn’t been so embarrassed all those years ago about my dream.
Then and even more so now I have a deep appreciation for what my mom did for my family, and I want someday to be able to do that for my own family. While every situation is different, and calls for different types of mothering, it is so crucial that mothers be involved in their children’s lives. They have a profound influence on how their child sees the world and thinks about themselves.
My mom raised eight children, and is still in the process of raising the younger ones, and she’s epic. While termed “stay at home mom,” I don’t feel like it even begins to describe the type of mother she was. Her mothering was everywhere and went everywhere; in fact, it hardly ever just stayed at home. It influenced how we acted even when she wasn’t around, how we felt about ourselves and others, and it impacts the decisions that we continue to make.
Even though most of us are out of the home she continues to have a full life. She has many assignments and responsibilities in our church which requires hours of her time. She was/is the unofficial appliance handyman on our family’s dairy farms. As busy as she was; we knew we were foremost in her thoughts even when she was away. If we arrived home from school and she wasn’t there she would always call within minutes to see how our day had been, and give us a list of chores to do.
We went everywhere with her and she knew and cared about our lives. She took us to school, church, and sport activities; to the store, dairy, and service activities. She knew all of our favorite foods, ours teachers, and schedules. She was our advocate, counselor, best friend, teacher, comforter, and most important our mother.
My mom didn’t have kids because she needed to fill a few extra hours, but because a family was what she wanted. She loved her kids and her kids needed and loved her, just like every child needs their mother. And while I admit that I don’t fully comprehend all that she did for me, this is the recognition and thanks that her, and all mothers need. It is a noble thing to bear, nurture, and love the next generation. So to all mothers out there, you have a profound impact on your child’s life and you are needed.