As a woman, mother, person starting to near "middle" age (dare I utter these words) it causes me to reflect on where I stand. Where I stand in society, where I stand as a woman, a mother, a friend, a wife; all of these titles of mine define who I am, where I "stand" in the lives of those I reach.. touch.
It is often sombering to realize that at this point I should be "all grown up now" yet sometimes I look around at my brood, my home, my crazy life and think "am I really in charge of all of this?"
It may make you chuckle, picturing me frazzled, pouring over my endless to do lists, shuffling my girls into the mini van, chauffering them around to their various activities, school drop off, playdates, doctor's appointments, therapy sessions (for my special needs miss) etc etc that I even worry about being someone worth a special position in the world. Still, I can't help but feel as I get lost in the busy-ness of my life that I don't really know where I stand.
Today the world places less value on motherhood, let alone stay at home motherhood. Women are judged by their looks, how fit they are, what # their clothing tag says, or how put together they look when they head off to run errands for the day. Sometimes I manage to pull it off, early morning workout... check... showered, straightened hair, makeup on, cute outfit with jewelry ... check. Kids looking cute, hair combed... check. School drop off looking ready for the day instead of my pajama-fied tired version... Check. I could check off many things I manage to get done on a daily basis but do they really, truly matter? Interesting theory.
My 8 year old looked at me yesterday morning and totally changed my outlook with 5 sweet words, " you look pretty today Mommy." Even though I had bags from pulling an all-nighter with her little sister and literally had thrown myself together, I realized where I stand with this girl. Unconditional love is a beautiful thing.
Where do I stand as a wife? Being married for almost ten years causes me to smile as I look back at all of the crazy times we have had. 3 children, 3 moves, a Bachelor's, Master's, job changes, diagnosis of our daughter's life threatening disease, family trips, milestones, memories, the list goes on. It has been eventful. So, do I look the same as we did when I got married, well not so much she is in there somewhere (ha). Do I still get to be the fun, easy going twenty-something I was when we first were together, occasionally. The enduring part of my marriage is what I am most proud of. That despite life has thrown us some hard balls, it is pretty clear when I think about it, we stand together.
Friendships are a huge source of positivity, especially for women, mothers. Some of my greatest friends have given me the best advice, been there to laugh with me, even cry. As women it is easy to compare, feel a little less around those that might be so wonderful that they supposedly dull our sparkle. But as I write this, I chide myself, silly silly me. My grandma once told me " to have good friends you need to be one." Isn't that the truth? So, do I stand in a good place with women I value as friends? I think so. As for the insecurities I sometimes have, or the disconnect I feel at times being the "special needs mom" verses the " typical mom" it will be all right. Standing on my own is ok, but standing together with good friends at my side is far better.
I feel as I have written this post I have answered some of my own questions. Life has a way of doing that for you. We all have images of ourselves, positive and negative. It is easy to forget how important our own individual roles are to the little people, spouses, friends, peers that we love.
I may not be the most put together mother at school pick up, or an accomplished professional, an amazing chef or a natural size 2, but I do have value, we all do.
Seeing it in my child's eyes as I transfer her from her wheelchair to my arms, I see it. Late at night when a cry comes over the baby monitor and I know my little's epilepsy has begun, I see it. She needs me. Listening to my daughter's piano piece she has practiced for weeks and is excited to show me, just Mommy, I see it. Hearing my middle's jubilant glee as I walk into the school lunch room to eat lunch with her, I see it. When all of my children light up to see me as they rush in the door from school I see it. Even if I don't deserve such praise or admiration on my grumpier days, it is there. My value to them is real.
Recognizing our true value, where we truly stand in our own little "universe" is a gift. A constant struggle and project to work on...
I am thankful for my place in my crazy, a little less glamorous world. To me it is worth standing up for...
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