Annnnd here we are again, another Mother’s Day is upon us. This holiday gets me every year. I remember my first Mother’s Day with my three-week-old Lily in my arms, and I felt, not so much like a mother, but awe. I just felt pure gigantic awe, like this business is huge! I really had no idea. Many days I’m still searching for the life preserver in that vast ocean.
I see my friends being good mothers and super role models, running marathons, getting their daughter’s meds ready, taking their kids to explore the the battlefields of Normandy.
I read their stories about being so exhausted they finally tried sleep training so their baby would sleep through the night, about losing their shit and calling for reinforcements so they could take a much needed mental health day, about having to bury their child in the smallest, most heartbreaking casket ever.
And I think, these women are mothers, real, honest, raw, brave, amazing, fabulous. I study them, I soak in their stories.
It’s not so much that I’m comparing because let’s be honest, I never want to run a marathon, I’m extremely lucky my daughter doesn’t need daily meds to keep her alive, I too have lost my shit and needed a mental health day, and I hug my babies and am thankful they are alive and healthy, Every. Day.
We are all alike and different. I get that. I just feel like crying, (and swearing) a lot. Maybe they do too. Some days making mint tea with honey for my kids is enough for me to feel like a good mom.
Motherhood is literally putting your heart out there to be broken open every day. Who does that willingly?!? Crazy people. Crazy people full of love. I look to their stories, these other brave mamas, because maybe someone else’s story will help me figure out my own. Maybe it will help me be more patient with my children, maybe it will help me practice more self care, maybe it will help me be more grateful.
Let’s face it, no mama’s story will ever motivate me to run a marathon, I mean, have you seen me run? I’ll leave that one to my friend, Michelle. And you know what, I’ll be there cheering her on. Some days we are the marathon runners; some days we are the cheerleaders. And we mamas need us some cheerleaders!!
I sensed motherhood would be hard, I just didn’t realize the layers of of difficulty, you know. I can see many of you rolling your eyes and thinking, What did you think it was going to be like? Some days, it’s the normalness, the bickering, the whining, that beautiful witching hour we like to call bedtime in our house, that can drag a mama down. But it’s also the Pandora’s box full of issues we never anticipated that makes this journey sometimes feel like walking the gauntlet.
In my daughter’s 3rd grade class, the things she’s hearing about from her peers include drugs, sex and cutting. Third grade!!! So we are having these conversations at home way earlier than I imagined. Add that to the the stuff we already have going on at home, anxiety, seizures, personal hygiene. Even basic safety skills, apparently, so that Jasper wont’t ever get into a car with strangers, because this kid doesn’t believe in strangers! He wants the whole world to be friends. That, right there, my beautiful, naive child, we all want the whole world to be friends.
We are all just trying to be good mothers. But it feels difficult a lot of the time. You hear people say, “They learn what they see so model good behavior,” and you never realized that might mean you’d have to claw yourself down from your own anxiety so as not to model anxiety attacks for your child. You see your daughter being bullied in 1st grade and you build a mini bomb shelter around your family, and swear, I am never sending her to school again. And then, now, in 3rd grade you listen to her talk about her classmates and something in the back of your head makes you stop and think, wait, are you now bullying someone else? Oh shit! Because this bullying thing involves fine lines of manipulation, it’s all different shades of gray.
Like motherhood I’m learning, so many shades of gray.
And I can’t ask my own mom about these issues, because well there’s this whole motherless daughter thing I’ve got going on. There’s another club I’m a member of. It’s now a lifetime membership. Not that my mom would be able to solve these problems for me, in fact, really all I want is for her to laugh with me, and cry with me, and say, “I get it.” Plus, I learned how to swear from her, and I think she would be proud of how far I’ve come!
So I look to other moms I admire, I ask them questions, we share our stories, I see them fall and get up, over and over again, and I think, Damn, these women are AMAZING!!!! We give each other shout-outs over the internet, we call each other and text each other when life is crazy, and when we can we get together and giggle and cry and drink cocktails and tell each other these very important things: You’re doing a great job. You don’t realize how strong you are. You are a good mother.
I don’t think this will ever stop, me looking to other moms to gain insight, me writing about it, because I’m pretty certain I will continue to NOT know what the heck I’m doing as a mom. I mean someone forgot to put that in the baby books. Chapter 1. You Will Have No Control and Absolutely No Idea What You’re Doing On A Daily Basis. Chapter 2. Find Other Moms Who’ve Already Figured This Out So You Can Feel Not Alone. Chapter 3. Breathe. The End. Epilogue: Drink Cocktails or Mochas and Celebrate Life!
Let’s go right to the epilogue and make a special Mother’s Day cocktail. It’s my own Bourbon Smash, a little sweet, a little tart, a tiny bit bitter. While I was concocting this smashing drink, I jotted down my notes on the back of a piece of paper in the kitchen, which, when I was finished, I realized was a piece of Jasper’s homework. Now, if that doesn’t make me a good mother, I don’t know what does.
So this Mama’s Day I’ll watch my son play hockey, while I sit next to Lily in the stands as we freeze our butts off and giggle over how cute Jasper is. I’ll make mochas with Lily, eat the best hash browns on the planet made by Greg Ohlin, do a little gardening, read, read and read, and enjoy a delicious, tart and sweet cocktail. I hope this Mother’s Day is beautiful for you too.
- 1.5 oz Bourbon
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 to 3/4 oz simple syrup (I used Demerara sugar to make my simple syrup because it goes so well with Bourbon)
- Fresh mint
- Lego figurine, optional
- Put Bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and a sprig or two of mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, cover and shake for 30 seconds. Strain into any fun cocktail glass, over a big ice cube or crushed ice. Garnish with lemon and mint. Enjoy!
- To make simple syrup mix 1 cup hot water with 1 cup sugar, stir until sugar is dissolved. Keep in the refrigerator in jam jar or air-tight container and use for all your cocktail needs. Keeps for up to one month in the refrigerator.