What does being a mom mean to me?
To answer this question I had to take a moment and reflect on my last decade of motherhood, and ask myself…when did I most feel like a mom?
It wasn’t when I was pregnant, or giving birth. Those experiences made me feel strong and empowered but more as a woman, not as a mom.
I didn’t bond with all of the Cowkids right away. Some of them it took hours, some a few days and even weeks. So perhaps that’s why I don’t relate to an ahah moment of holding your child for the first time.
For me my journey as a mother is defined by what I call the Mama Bear moments.
The time when it took all of my self-control to not go to school and strangle the kid that bullied my son.
When I was running to my truck in the parking garage of a hospital, as I watched my son fly out of sight in a helicopter, lighting flashing in the background (true story).
When I told my daughter she couldn’t go to a party because of her bad attitude, and then had to hide my tears as she wept uncontrollably in her room.
That first night of putting the baby in her crib in her own room instead of next to our bed.
Sitting and reading the book No David for the 800th time to a fevered little boy.
I guess if I had to sum up what being a mom means to me, I would have to say service.
My life as a mother is one of service. Service to my children, my husband, my home, my friends, and my community.
Notice I didn’t say servitude…I said service.
I willingly give up hours of my day in the care of others. I chose to leave a career I loved so I could spend more time in service of my family. I cut short phone conversations, skip girls nights out, and go days without showering or sleeping so that I can give attention and love to my family. I cook meals, wash laundry, drive to sporting events, take them to church, and put gallons of sunscreen on wiggly children. I keep track of who is in what size clothes, I scrub poop and pee off the floor, help them with school work, teach them right from wrong, and encourage them to play outside.
And how am I payed for this service?
With a sweet and unexpected kiss and hug from a 10 year old boy that’s turning into a man in front of my eyes.
The joy that fills my heart hearing my 8 year-old-daughter comfort her baby sister with hugs and kisses and a soft lullaby that was sung to her as a baby.
The sound of laughter and little boy feet stampeding up the stairs and down the hall, non stop, every day, all day long.
The proud look on my husband’s face as he introduces me to a friend from long ago.
A warm meal put on the table that was clean 10 minutes before (but won’t be for long) and family and friends filling up each and every chair with smiles and lovely conversation.
Do I get fed up with dishes, laundry and dirt? You bet I do!
Do I throw a movie in just so I can have some time to myself? Heck yeah.
Do I look forward to my yearly gyno doctors appointments as a well-deserved break? Sadly, yes!
Being a mom is putting others before yourself, but doing it with a joyful heart.
When I feel resentful of my life of service rather than joyful, it’s my job to check out for a bit.
I ask The Cowboy to take the Cowkids away and lock the door and soak in the tub. I hire a sitter and take a few hours to go to my local coffee café and catch up with some friends. I throw on my sneakers and head out for a run.
But I wouldn’t give up the mom gig for anything.
This life of service to my family is something I see as an honor, a gift, and my calling.
Cathy is the founder and primary blogger at Prairie Wife in Heels. She is a city girl gone country, all for the love of a cowboy, and a 30-something Wyoming mother of 5, trying to walk through this prairie life in heels, and trying not to step in too many gopher holes along the way!