Mother’s Day, and other trying times

Mother’s Day. I’m not much in the mood for it this year. It’s been a long, hard year or two. I used to be the mother who sent her daughter with her own special healthy snack each week when she went to Nursery at Church, the mother who used the #1 ranked carseats and faced her children backwards until they were three years old, the mother who refused to send her children to preschool, but instead exhaustively researched educational theory to create a perfect developmental and educational environment just for them.

No more. Fast forward past ongoing health problems, an emotional meltdown, a series of financial disasters, and several international moves, and I’m not feeling like such a great mother anymore. My children have discovered movies, candy, and toys with cartoon characters. My husband cleans my house (when my cleaning lady isn’t). And I still feel overwhelmed with life. Today I don’t really feel like going to Church and hearing gushy songs and poems and stories about perfect angel mothers who sew their children’s clothes, plant successful vegetable gardens, keep spotless houses full of cute decorations they’ve made themselves, volunteer at their kids’ schools and soccer matches, and somehow are always magically there at the right moment to lend a listening ear.

This is on top of the normal feelings I have at Mother’s Day, where I wonder if I should feel guilty for not getting all the joy and satisfaction in my life out of wiping noses, wiping bottoms, wiping counters, and yes, receiving kisses, hugs, and “I luv you Mome” cards. I love my children. Being a mother is amazing. I just don’t want to talk about it right now. Throw in the normal, everyday difficulties of being a woman in the Middle East, and you pretty much have it. My perfect recipe for a depressing Mother’s Day.

Fortunately, this year I received an unexpected Mother’s Day gift. My friend Katy, whom I met when we were both young newlyweds living in cinderblock student housing, wasn’t in the mood for Mother’s Day either. However, Katy happens to be a talented artist, so instead of just writing a downer blog post, she decided to do a “Mom Marathon.” Or in other words, a gorgeous series of portrait sketches of mothers, drawn very much as individuals, and not as the idealized super-mom we tend to hear about on Mother’s Day. It sounded like a lovely idea to me. So I volunteered, not very shyly at all, and sent her a photo.

You can find all of the beautiful mothers from her “Mom Marathon” on her blog. And that’s her drawing, at the top of this blog post, of the moment after Dominique was born. A moment when I felt like a conquering angel–on top of the world, and in love with him and everyone. A moment when I really felt like a mother. I guess maybe we all have those moments, at least a few of them. I hope I have some more coming sometime in the future. In the meantime, it’s nice to have a reminder that I don’t always feel this way.

So happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. Especially the not-so-perfect mothers like me.

And if you’re not offended by a little skin, you can see the original photo of us all in the birthing tub together on our family website.