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Today's Family Magazine

How motherhood made me appreciate my mom

By Sarah Lyons

When I look back at each important moment in my life: the day I learned to drive, my graduation, my wedding, the birth of my first child, she is always standing in the background smiling and cheering me on. More importantly, she was part of the other not-so-monumental moments in my life like when I got stung by a bee, when the kids teased me, and when I cried my way through my first broken heart.  My mom was always there to support me through all the moments, big and small.  Now that I have been a mom for a dozen years, I appreciate my mom so much more for the things she has always done with little or no recognition.  I now realize the sacrifices she made and the monumental effort she put in.  Here are just a few reasons why I appreciate my mom a whole lot more since becoming a mom myself.

For maintaining
A mother’s work is never done and it is a thankless job.  Taking even one day off means more work for days to come.  Moms pick up the same toys, wash the same dishes, and do the same laundry over and over again. Not only do moms maintain the housework, but they also hold a mental inventory of all items in the home.  Most moms can recall the location of the baby’s favorite stuffed animal, the toddler’s missing shoe, the library books, the stapler, and any other random item a family member may request at any given time.  I appreciate the example of steadfastness that my mom gave me for maintaining our home.

For managing
As moms, we often feel like we live in our minivans.  Moms don’t just transport kids from one activity to the next.  They also maintain the family calendar, make appointments, and make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time with the right gear (musical instrument, snacks, sports gear, sunscreen, backpack, and the list goes on).  Juggling school and activities in itself is a full time job that my mom (and most moms) manage with ease.  I appreciate my mom for being the social planner, taxi driver, and personal assistant to our whole family as we grew up.

For enduring
The first time I dropped my son off at a babysitter’s and watched him cry and reach for me in the window my heart broke.  As moms, we endure heartache often as we watch our children learn and grow, succeed and fail, and endure illnesses, hurt feelings, and disappointment.  Our heart soars when they meet their goals and sinks when things don’t work out.  Motherhood is a roller coaster of emotions that us moms withstand without complaint.  I appreciate my mom for her strong support of me even when she was hurting too.

For the unseen 
There are things moms do everyday that go unnoticed.  Moms make sure the football jersey is clean before the next game, check in on a sick child during the night, drop off a forgotten lunchbox, put puzzle pieces back where they belong, replace toothbrushes, clean out the pantry, email teachers with concerns, volunteer, cook, shop, and so many little things that keep a family going every day.  The little things that don’t seem to matter, that most won't notice, that no one asks for, that moms do just because they want to show their love for their family.  I appreciate my mom for all the things she has done that I never thought to thank her for.

For loving me anyway
Moms love their kids through tantrums, potty training, back talk, and rebellion.  There is no doubt that raising kids is trying on patience but moms have a way of letting us know that no matter what mistakes we make, they will be there to catch us when we fall.  I appreciate my mom for loving me even when I was unlovable.

For letting me go
When you become a mother, you are the center of your child’s world.  You feed them, change them, and comfort them.  The more they grow, the more independent they become.  While this is something to celebrate, it can be heart wrenching to loosen the grip on a child and trust them to manage life and all of its challenges alone.  It’s scary and new and feels more like a loss of control than anything else, but as you watch your child take on life’s challenges it can be a great sense of pride as well.  I appreciate my mom for letting me go, grow, and experience life in my own way.

This Mother’s Day, take notice of the hard work moms do every day. Acknowledge the little things they do, thank them for always being there, and hug them tight before you leave.