When my oldest was a baby, this was the only word I wanted to hear. When he finally learned to say it, he could recite it 100 times a day, and my heart would still sing with each babbling mouthful of maternal acknowledgement.
Fast forward four years later, when my first born is fast approaching that fifth year milestone and our youngest is two. The word “momma” doesn’t exactly carry the same message as it did the first time it slipped from the lips of that bouncing baby boy.
Nope. That one word is no longer laced with sweet innocence. Rather, it’s packed with wants, needs, dependency. Always something expected of me in exchange for what use to be a word of pure bliss.
How did it ever come to this?
How is it that most often my response to momma is an exasperated “What?!!?!”
There is some guilt attached to admitting this, of course. But I know I’m not alone. And even people that don’t have children can relate to my conundrum. There always comes a time and space in our lives where we are consumed with taking care of everything and everyone else around us.
And, exasperation comes when we fail to take time to ourselves and recharge or work to balance our time and commitments so that we don’t start brushing off the things that truly matter.
Not that I ignore my kids, but I certainly reach a place – somewhere around the 42nd time I’ve heard Momma for the day – where I fail to respond as quickly as I should, or with the enthusiasm that my kids deserve.
Because it’s honestly hard after a day full of diaper changes, providing taxi services, making lunches, sitting down to eat my lunch just in time to hear “I done, Momma” 20x, baths, cleaning up messes, feeding dogs, answering client emails, writing blog posts, editing pictures, doing laundry, unloading the dishwasher, answering more emails, putting the kids to bed, blaa, blaa, blaa…
I digress. My life isn’t much different than anyone else’s out there. I try a little too hard to be Super Mom in all I do and it leaves me feeling stretched and pulled by a thousand invisible wires in as many directions, making it very difficult to plant my feet at center.
I’m not going to spout a bunch of tips for getting your life together or anything like that. After all, I’m certainly putting very few of those would-be tips to application in my own life. But I will recommend taking a moment to smack yourself in the face with some perspective when you, like me, begin to have tunnel vision. It’s as simple as remembering that the business that used to reside next to yours closed its doors last month because the economy finally took its toll (and you’re lucky to be making a profit).
My dose of perspective today is the fact that I recently met a family through my photography business whose seven-month-old son has SMA, and likely won’t see his first birthday. His mommy may never hear him mutter the word that has, unfortunately, donned a negative association in my home today. Every moment of every day with him is a short-lived blessing to his family.
Alright, and now it’s time to go snuggle up with my boys and beg them to say “I love you, Mommy” ten times over. Perspective-mission accomplished.
(originally posted on Ink’d Content)