Of all the vocations that get days of honor, Mother’s Day is one that I believe truly deserves full recognition. If you look up acronyms for MOM, you’ll notice some appropriately humorous ones: Maker of Me and Must Obey Me. Then there are those that weren’t meant to apply, but still do. For example, Ministry of Mayhem is a television show.
But doesn’t that describe a mom’s job perfectly? The one that made me snicker is M.O.M. (Mission Operation Manager). It’s an actual job title for NASA.
This year marks my 25th year of motherhood so I guess it is time that I acknowledge that my mom was right: time has flown, and many moments escaped uncherished.
Fortunately, with home videos I can replay the years that are a blur. Unfortunately, I often hear the voice of a tightly-wound young mother. She was on a mission to get things done: flash cards to be memorized, timed piano practices to be monitored and a well-balanced dinner to be prepared.
None of these operations were to be interrupted by a dirty little hand offering flowers freshly pulled from my Pinterest potted plants.
Every mom wants what’s best for her kids, to provide a secure environment for them so they achieve and even excel beyond what she herself has accomplished.
I watched and admired the moms who had it all together and whose young kids were reaching milestones I hoped mine would reach too.
The pressure I put on myself — to keep them from harm, help them hit academic standards, and shuttle them between the many extra-curricular activities that would ensure their well-rounded futures — was intense and more than enough to manage.
I often believed I was not good enough.
More than anything, I wanted to be a great mom. I wanted them to have happy memories of home, family, and faith that would carry them into their adulthood.
But while in “Mission Operation Manager” mode, I often lost touch with the flowers in a pudgy fist.
When I think about the lessons I learned throughout my own life that kept me grounded and
got me through the hard moments (failed exams, spiritual warfare and parenting self-doubt, to name a few), they were examples of those who had done it before. I grew from one or two sentence moments of guidance and the prayers of my parents, not from having a Pinterest-perfect home life.
I wish I could step inside those old home videos, put my arm around that young Mission Operation Manager and assure her, “You are more than enough. Take the flowers from that grubby little fist and see them for what they are. A reflection of who you are to your children. Those little ones love you to the moon and back.”