All photographs by Jenni Price Photography. See more at jennipricephotography.com. Used with permission.
[Mothers] when you look back on your life, what will matter to you will be your posterity-Ephra, my dear friend.
Mother’s Day can either be a pleasant day or a miserable one. One Sunday my husband was sitting with other married men at church and one said to him, “Is it Mother’s Day this weekend? Oh great! My wife is going to be mad the whole weekend!” Sometimes as moms our expectations for Mother’s Day are very high. We just want to have one day where we don’t feel such enormous responsibility but it often doesn’t pan out.
With the many joys that come with motherhood, it is hard to feel joyful all the time. I’m convinced as a mom of young children that I can only be as happy as my headache medicine is effective. There is no prescribed way to be a mother. But we moms love to berate ourselves with our perceived failings, comparing our shortcomings to other mom’s triumphs often to the background noise of children screeching or stomping on the 2nd floor above our heads.
As a stay-at-home mom, and aware of my many privileges, still the only upside to completing the day-to-day menial household tasks is that it is pretty easy to think of something entirely unrelated to folding laundry while folding laundry (do people still fold? I kinda tend to just plop things in the clean basket). It’s a great thing to be able to think, I think, and I’m sure Decartes would agree. But there are downsides to all this thinking.
When I have so-called mom brain, it’s because my thinker has been on overdrive for so long it shorts out. Just the other night, I was checking out with my groceries and the machine asked if I wanted cash back and I blanked out completely! For an awkward second, I couldn’t figure out how to navigate the arduous mental journey of checking out at the grocery store!
This past summer my mom brain took its toll and I was afflicted with mom blues. I was overthinking too often and for too long. I finally had to call my younger sister who told me that she tries very hard not to indulge in negative thoughts. I asked her how and she just said, “If a negative thought comes up on my thought feed-just like on a social media feed-I swipe it up and move on.” I try to practice her method now and I can say it is very helpful.
But you can’t just not think a negative thought, you have to replace it with a positive thought. The reason I think this is worth bringing up in a Mother’s Day post is because I think that above all-what we think as mothers throughout our day can make or break us. For example, I have spent hours before thinking and planning how to best take care of my family-all the while not remembering to eat breakfast myself.
A mom’s mental health is vitally important to her family. And if you’re like me, I can’t think happy on an empty stomach. That’s why it’s so important to wake up in the morning and make the eggs. But more on eggs, later.
I think the worst advice I’ve ever heard about being a mother is something along the lines of, “When you are a mom, you are no longer the picture, rather you are the frame.” I promise that is not true. You are definitely the picture in your baby’s eyes and she is in yours. The frame is time. You only have so much time before she is grown and doesn’t rely on you so much. Make the picture what you want her to remember. To do this, you must think consciously about what you allow yourself to think.
The best advice I’ve heard about being a mom actually came from my dad when he said, “On an airplane, they always tell you to put your own mask on first and then place the mask on the child sitting next to you because if you do not put your mask on first, you could black out and then how would that help the child in the next seat?”
After a back injury, I went out one afternoon to get a pedicure alone. I sat next to a seasoned mother as well as a back pain survivor. Quickly after we started chatting, I began to cry. In fact, I poured out my soul to this stranger and told her that I was just so overwhelmed with taking care of my four young children and that it was ruining my health, at least it seems to be some days.
She said she could empathize and told me basically to put my own mask on first as well. Her exact words were, “Whatever you need to do to be a healthy momma, you do it. If you need to get a pedicure once in a while, do. If you need to make regular visits to a doctor, do. Keep yourself healthy because you do your family no favors by driving yourself into the ground.”
You know, I am not a great cook, but one thing I can make is scrambled eggs. In fact, the same sister taught me that if you crack the eggs on a flat surface, rather than the edge of a bowl, you’ll never get egg shell in your eggs. It’s genius. Scrambled eggs don’t require much. Hot pan. Pat of butter. Whisked eggs. Easy. Don’t overthink the eggs. If you leave them cooking too long you have an ugly mess.
The same could be said about how us moms think about ourselves.
Moms are like cooked eggs. Some of us are wired to be hard boiled. We like to wear our shell and not mingle with the other eggs. Some of us are scrambled no matter what we do! Some of us seem to always be sunny side up (while the rest of us resent those eggs). Some of us more uppity moms are poached. Sometimes we look at the other eggs and think they are better than us. But have you ever tried to scramble a hard boiled egg? Gross! Just be the kind of egg you are. We are all good eggs.
This Mother’s Day, wherever you’re at in life as a mother, a daughter or a friend of a mother or a daughter, celebrate the wonderful opportunity that you have before you to share your eggy goodness with the world.
And guess what? Children don’t even know who Martha Stewart even is. So don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t one of those Martha Stewarty types. If you would rather bond with your child on the soccer field, go for it. If you’d rather take your child to a play, wonderful! You are your child’s mother for a reason, so include her in everything you do and don’t hide the real you.
Lastly, this one is from my own mother who told me that she thinks that I should do what I am good at and teach my children whatever it is I feel I can. She said to expose them to great books, beautiful music and art. She said to travel with them and show them as many things educational and cultural that I am able to. And that is great advice from an exceptional mom.