I have 3 children, but really do not feel I qualify as a true Mom. Moms are ever-present. They always put dinner on the table. They dress like Moms. They show up for every school event and parent-teacher conference. They never let their kids eat junk food or watch TV. They give birth naturally at home in a house with scrubbed floors and low-flow toilets. Their kids follow the rules, do well in school and live happily ever after.
My experience as a Mom is I try. I try hard. I have a mixture of biological and adopted children. I am generally considered adequate but not stellar, by those that rank me. I also bring in the bacon, but no longer eat pigs so just feed it to those who insist upon doing so. I am half bald, but a highly competent physician. I cannot figure out how to dress to please everyone. My cutlery and plates do not match.
My Mom also worked, but somehow did it all. She got up around 5am, at which point she woke me to braid my hair, then sent me back to bed till my proper wakeup time. Off she went to work, and then home by the time I came home from school. She cooked dinner every single night and we ate almost exactly at 5pm. She cleaned the house meticulously and did all the shopping for the week on Saturday mornings, long before I was awake, then would make me pancakes or cinnamon rolls to eat in front of Saturday cartoons. Even while undergoing chemotherapy for her breast cancer, she did all of this. In between getting up in the middle of the night to puke her guts out.
Moms are undervalued in our country.
I know some amazing Moms. There is the nurse I work with who single parents, works and manages to raise chickens and landscape her yard. There is the Mom who is an amazing athlete in more than one sport and works and raises her kids and inspires me half to death. There is the Mom who lives in Little Rock and has these wonderful boys and teaches me new things about music and writing and humor and love on a regular basis. There is my cousin who parented 3 kids to successful adulthood and has continued on with her grandchild. There is my friend who has withstood a dissecting aorta who continues to model stability and strength to her child. There is my sister-in-law who is my model for motherhood. There is the mother who adopted my kids unofficially as grandchildren and makes me feel like a daughter. There is the the nurse I work with who is strong and hilarious and thoughtful and together who shows up for her kids and her friends without fanfare. There is the Mom who made a huge sacrifice in the name of love. There is my Godmother who makes me feel loved when my own mother is long gone. There is my doctor friend who has a baby and works and makes it all seem easy despite over a year of sleep deprivation. There is my single Mom friend who works full time and creates a safe and creative environment for her child to thrive and do handstands all the day long. There is Michelle Obama who puts up with more than her fair share of absolute bullshit and judgement. Can you even imagine trying to raise kids in the White House??? And there is my husband who is not a Mom, but has taken on the stay at home parent role with grace and a strong sense of self rarely seen in a man.
What does any of this have to do with running? Well, when I run I am a better Mom. I used to tell my kids "I need to run to chase away the grumpy monster." They were totally on board with this, because who likes the grumpy monster?
I am not able to find a way to feel like a real Mom. Nevertheless, I will continue to show up for the gig. I can take the attitude, the piercings, the eye rolls and the contempt. I love them anyway, and someday maybe they will appreciate me, sort of like the way artists and poets are appreciated: posthumously.
Besides my own, my all time favorite Mom is Little Bear's mother. She is da bomb. And someone for us all to aspire to be.
Don't even get me started on Peter Rabbit's Mom.