I think role model moms should be standard issue to all new moms. Being a mom is hard. It is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not because of all the work it entails but the sheer force of the all-consuming energy that unconditional love tolls on your mind, body and spirit. Having done it twice, I really think that most of us spend the first four years of of our children’s lives in a fog induced by sheer love meeting complete desperation and exhaustion. I mean, I know I didn’t have a full night’s sleep until year 8 and it was only once.
The thing is when we come up for air from the insanity of new motherhood, we need to look for a mom role model.
I don’t mean someone to emulate or keep up with. Believe you me, I’ve had more than my fair share of those in my parenting lifetime. I’m not even referring to those amazing mom friends who hold your hand and lift your soul when you are neck deep in diaper blowouts, colic and regression. Though those broads are worth their weight in gold, for the listening and nodding agreement alone. If they can offer helpful advice and be a gentle sounding board, bonus.
When I say a role model, I mean a mom you meet who has older kids who are turning out pretty damn good. She might know a thing or two. Sure, she might not have cloth diapered but her oldest just started college and that kid’s got all of his shit together. This mama knows how to get things done the right way. I was fortunate to meet one such amazing woman on my oldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten.
You see, it was my first child and I didn’t want her to go to school all day. I wanted to cherish these final moments together. Plus the kid was still taking naps and who was I to take that away from us. Her sleeping peacefully while I gently stroked her head and silently sobbed because she was leaving me. Looking back now, on the precipice of puberty, I wasn’t wrong.
Anyways, I digress. This other mom, let’s call her Maureen ( because that is her name and she is too awesome for me not to refer to her by her real name), had a little boy who also happened to be only going ½ day. We.were.the.only.2. ( It’s Catholic school, people. Most of these mamas have plenty more and full day it was.) But not us, we wanted our kids home with us.
I walk into the corridor to wait for my daughter and I see this lovely woman, blonde and beautiful. Obviously, she has her shit together. She was not wearing the yoga pants and t-shirt with spit up on it that I was and her hair was so not in a ponytail like mine. We started talking and she was a little teary eyed and all I thought was dear Lord, what are they doing to our children that this obviously seasoned mom was brought to tears by. That’s when she told me that not only was this her youngest child’s first day of kindergarten but her oldest child’s first day of college. You see the irony, first and last and last and first all in the same day. I got a little choked up myself. I just wanted to hug her but I didn’t because that would have made me seem deranged, right ? Well, maybe I did, who can remember, the brain fog was strong with me in those days. Either way, I knew I loved this woman instantly.
Her heart was as big as anything I had ever seen and she was is (she’s not dead or anything) just a really lovely person. She had kind eyes and an unspoken kinship that put me at ease. For once, I felt like I could shut up and listen and not tell the other mother what month of life my child achieved a basic life skill (good thing too because I was getting tired of pulling out those motherhood aces up the sleeve: Bella walked at 10 months and Gabs totally potty trained herself by 18 months. Ok, see that was the last time.)
From that first day, I knew we would be friends and when I met her other children ( she has four) I realized that I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Her kids are kind, well-mannered, smart, well-rounded citizens of the world. Her kids blow my mind, ergo, her mom skills are the bomb.
Six years later and she is still my mom role model. I hope one day I can be the same for some other new mom because God knows, I am not the youngest mom in the class, ever.