So many blog posts celebrate motherhood through odes to children. I can understand why; I, too, think my children are pretty awesome. I’m only a mother because of them, so I cannot help but feel grateful for their presence. I know I’m lucky to have them.
But, quite honestly, I also think they are lucky to have me. Yes, I said it — my kids are lucky to have me as their mother. It’s not saying that I’m a better mother than someone else. No — I’m just a really awesome mom to my three. For even in my worst of times…I’m a motherly force to be reckoned with.
The children themselves are not always aware of how awesome their mom is. When asked, my seven year old said I was the best mother for her because she met me first. My oldest, at nine-years-old, responded that he was saying whatever his sister said. The three-year-old just said, “Why?”
Accordingly, being the good mother I am, I’m starting a series where I discuss why my kids are lucky to have me as their mama. Starting with these three, in no particular order of importance:
1. I like them.
I don’t think there is any requirement that mothers like their children. Love, yes. But like? No. Some children, like people, have personality traits that are simply annoying to other children, such that no one really comments when one child says they don’t like another child. Some people, including children, are unlikeable.
My children certainly have character traits that are not always endearing. There are the bad attitudes, the constant back-talk, the occasional lying, and the lack of hygiene. Nevertheless, I like them. I choose to spend time with them. Not because I have to, but because I genuinely like them. Not every kid can say that their mom wants to, rather than has to, spend time with them. I actually know a few of those moms, and I feel for them.
And for that, for my genuine joy to spend time with them — they are lucky to have me.
2. I teach them.
I love teaching. There is a joy I draw from seeing the “aha” moments in a student’s eyes, as they go from ignorance to understanding. I value “deep” learning; I want to see not just rote memorization, but a seemingly bodily integration and scaffold from one piece of information to another.
So, I love to teach my children. They know they can come to me with any question about anything, and we will figure it out together. They know they will come to an answer, and also understand the “why” of the answer. My nine-year-old and I have recently embarked on learning division, using money. When most parents try to teach their kids, both kids and parents end up frustrated. Not with us. He’s asked me to do MORE division.
What nine-year-old asks for MORE division? Nine-year-olds who has this woman as a mom. Lucky.
3. I’m real with them.
My seven-year-old daughter is a Girl Scout this year. Recently, I had a conversation with the troop leader about next year’s activities and schedules. The conversation went something like this:
Troop Leader: So, your daughter says she might not do Girl Scouts next year.
Me: Oh. Really?
TL: Yeah, she said that she can only do two activities which cost money.
Me: Oh. That sounds about right.
We talk about money in our house. We are not poor, but we are not rich. We are barely middle-class, income wise, given that we live in the highest cost of living . We have expenses, like rent and daycare that must be taken care of before all else. We need to eat. After all of that, we don’t have much left.
So, I teach my children about priorities. Even at seven, she knows what is more important to her — Girl Scouts or something else. She also realizes that she does the most expensive hobby in the family — dance classes are ridiculous. She is, therefore, even more called upon to sacrifice the other things she can do. And at seven, she has a great grasp of the concept.
Who taught her that? Me.
I’m sure there are more than three reasons. These are just the three I can come up with right now. Long or short, the list is important — as moms, we often don’t recognize the things we do well for our children, the things that they aren’t getting from anyone else that they are getting from us.
If no one has told you, I’m telling you: Mine are lucky to have me, and yours are lucky to have you.