Motherhood isn't for the fainthearted
When I sat down to write about Mother's Day, I was unsure which direction I should take. I usually see lovely sweet messages to celebrate this day and I don't think it should be different. Still, I also think we sometimes underestimate the hard work. And I wanted to figure out: what it means to be a mother?
After a while, I caught myself doing something unexpected: checking the definition of the noun 'mother' in a dictionary. From Merriam-Webster:
. a female parent, a woman in authority, an old or elderly woman;
. source, origin;
. maternal tenderness or affection;
. something that is an extreme or ultimate example of its kind, especially in terms of scale.
Sounds good; I think we can see mothers in one or more definitions. But then I asked: is that enough?
People like to joke that mothers are the same; they only live at different addresses. I'm afraid I have to disagree. There are so many layers in becoming a mom: what they are, their expectations and aspirations, the example they got from their mothers, and their lives as children themselves. But also the brutal reality of learning in the process. I know there are many books about it, but there is no real manual or quick instructions, is there?
So making two of a kind is an impossible mission. But I believe we can say there is some common ground. Moms feed, bathe, change, help, teach, roll their eyes, support, discipline, play, clean your mess, and make hard decisions. They are caregivers, cooks, drivers, and financial managers. All this at once while they worry, stress, and manage their fears, hopes, expectations, the house we live in, and many times, their careers. Your mom was probably the first CEO you ever met in your life.
The management thinker Judith Bardwick coined the term 'comfort zone' in her 1991 book "Danger in the Comfort Zone." Still often used in the corporate world, as the name says, it's a place where you feel safe but not challenged, so in consequence, you don't grow.
I'm sure no mom has ever come close to living in a comfort zone. And for a simple reason: the object of their motherhood, and their biggest reward, is in constant change, making learning and adaptation a permanent need. And that object is us, their children. Think of yourself as a 14-year-old teenager, and you'll understand what I mean.
My conclusion is that it's impossible to exhaust the definition of motherhood. But I think I can say it's more than a function or a role, but a state in itself.
I stay here with a special 'thank you’ to my mom, who taught and gave me so much from herself and her own life, and planted the seeds of the woman I became, allowing me to take risks and step out of my comfort zone.