I’ve waited for as long as I remember to be a mom. I played house when I was little. I heard my baby clock ticking at 30 years old when I was single, and as soon as I knew wedding bells were in my future, all I thought about was becoming a mom, at least more than I thought about being a wife (sorry Kyle!).
The hand off from mom to physical therapist that would initially leave an infant I was treating teary eyed, always made my heart sink a bit, but the happy return to mom was so precious to watch. Infants, toddlers, kids in general love their moms like no one else. And every single mom I’ve ever met has always told me that the love for your child is different than anything else. Different is what I didn’t understand, but desperately wanted to. Different is good. Rock Your Different is just one cause that reminds us of this daily. But what is different when it comes to mom to child love? How do you describe it? And how do moms do it? Because different is hard!
I would describe my love for Bekytt as the first love ever that I would literally and instantly give my life for. If there was a situation where giving my life would mean saving his, I would do it without question. Sure I’d think about it for my husband, but he’s an adult, he’s lived a life almost as long as I have, and most importantly, he is a man who I’m sure would beat me to the punch shall a bullet ever fly towards us. It’s a love that brings out the mama bear in me and says “I must protect you.” I must research everything I ever buy for you, any food that goes in your mouth, any adult who will be with you alone and in the future, any future friend’s Facebook account that you will spend your time with. It is one that says I will rush home to you. I will give you my attention. I will teach you how to be a good person. How to be a good friend, spouse and parent. How to feel empathetic and how to have self confidence. It carries so much weight that the love for your child is nearly all consuming. So how do you take care of yourself, nourish your relationship with your spouse, and maintain healthy connections with your friends and family? I sure don’t know! But many of you do!
I never once asked “How do moms do it?” because I never knew how much was involved in trying to be a mom, a wife, a good friend, a good employee, a good sister, daughter, granddaughter, etc. The list of who we are at any given moment is endless. And it is even longer if your child has special needs. We change and are slightly different in each role. We strive to stay true to ourselves and be everything we want to teach our kids, but the bottom line is that it is hard. It is really hard. We no longer have a neighborhood filled with free baby sitters and companions, or an aunt that lives just up the road. We aren’t all stay at home moms and that alone is challenging! If we are lucky enough to have grandparents for our kids, we aren’t guaranteed that they live close by. We follow our careers or our partners, and families are spread out all over the US. Neighborhoods just aren’t what they used to be (unless you live on Folsom St). We are closer to our friends on Facebook than we are to the lady who lives next store. So how do we stay sane when the going gets tough in parenthood? When we are going on little sleep and that little love of ours literally sucks all of the energy out of us?
I am writing today to simply remind us all, especially myself, that while the internet and crazy world has made us drift apart from face to face interactions, it doesn’t have to create a barrier between us. We can continue to try and be present with those in our lives and remember that technology has also helped us to stay connected with distant relatives and friends as well. FaceTime, Skype and the video calls on Facebook are actually wonderful things, if we just use them. This Monday morning I wanted to write to lend credit to all you moms (and dads and caretakers) who do it all without question. Who Rock Your Different love in your own way daily. Who go to bed and wake up tired, but who just keep doing it for the love of your child. And to remind you, and myself, to take time to connect with someone this week who is important to you, but who you may have left by the wayside in the journey of being a parent. It is never too late for connection.
I’d love to hear from any of you so feel free to leave your comments or join our private Facebook group to get connected with other moms/caregivers who are free to share their stories, advice and experiences on this crazy journey called parenthood.
Kathryn Kraft, MPT