Today is Mother’s Day and I have given serious thought to what I want as a present. I have pointed out things that I need and things that I don’t, but want anyway, to my progeny and their father. And I have a gorgeous white lace dress and a beautiful pair of five inch platform pumps hidden away in my laundry room – my Mother’s Day gift to myself.
I am clearly not one of those sacrificing mothers who assures her offspring that she needs nothing and that she only wants her children to be happy. Or the mother who insists, “Save your money and get something nice for yourselves.” What form of lunacy is this? If I could, I’d go to Nordstrom’s and start a Mother’s Day gift registry for myself! Not because I’m greedy or materialistic, but because mothering is seriously hard work, and once a year it is nice that my family recognizes this.
I’ll be frank: not only is motherhood hard, it is yucky. During my tenure I have been pooped on, peed on and vomited on. I have been bled on, bitten and used as a booger disposal unit. I have changed diapers whose contents were green, others that were black, and others still that contained U.S. currency. On one memorable occasion, I found some vegetables in the diapers that had obviously been swallowed whole. I could have rinsed them off and re-fed them to the child if I had been so inclined….I didn’t.
Along with the “Ewww” factor, motherhood is also exhausting. I have stayed up until three in the morning sewing an astronaut ensemble for my daughter’s “Women We Admire Day” project. I have cheered on my sons at eight soccer games—in one tournament weekend. It drizzled and rained that weekend just enough so that the parents on the sidelines were truly miserable, but not hard enough to actually cancel a game, so there I sat, damp from the water and hoarse from cheering. I have baked hundreds of chocolate chip cookies for class parties (and this is a conservative estimate), prepared authentic Peanut Soup for Colonial Williamsburg Days, and fried samosas for Heritage Days.
Not only is motherhood tiring but it brings you into contact with people you would never otherwise encounter. Through the kids I met the pushy, over achieving mom who nearly convinced me that my four-year-old needed to take a class in conversational Japanese or forego any hopes of acceptance at a decent college. I also encountered two fanatical travel basketball coaches who scheduled practices randomly, as late as 10:00 on school nights and on all holidays. The concept of playing for fun was beyond their comprehension, but the idea of winning at all costs embroidered on their t-shirts. And I met the pediatrician who during a routine physical gave our two-year-old a shot, pulled out the needle, gasped, and ran out of the room. My husband and I were left staring at each other in wide-eyed shock fearing the worst. Had he injected the wrong medication? Had he rushed out for an antidote? Nope. He had just moved on to the next patient.
Yes, yes, the good parts of motherhood clearly outweigh the bad. But I still want the loot and recognition Mother’s Day affords. I do realize that my children are my greatest gift. They bring me untold joy and bouquets of dandelions. They tuck me into bed and bring me chocolate, coke and aspirin when I’m unwell. They advise and encourage each other when they think I’m not looking. They are the best dinner theater ever. I burst with pride at their accomplishments, pee from laughter at their shenanigans, and marvel at how precious, transient and miraculous a human life truly is when I see their little faces.
Ok. So maybe I don’t need a new Pandora charm or a designer laptop bag. Maybe a kiss and a cuddle will do…
Nausheena Ahmed was born in England, raised in Canada and is currently living in New Jersey. She is busy raising three kids whose names she never wants to see on a front page with the words “serial killer” or “psychopath” beside them.