Happy Mama Day!

from Open House for Butterflies by Marice Sendak and Ruth Krauss

My first mother’s day was a revelation.

As in– the heavens opened up, Somebody came through, and slapped my ass into line. Old testament style.

I had been looking forward to it as a day of rest and indulgence. A day off from all my hard mama work. A queen-for-the-day celebration of MeMeMe and all my amazing-ness. I thought I would lie down my Renaissance curves on the couch and someone would feed me grapes all day (or preferably coffee and chocolate.)

Yeah, I was asking for it.

My mom called early in the day, after I had finished up a morning alone in bed with coffee and a magazine, to wish me happy mother’s day. After we had both congratulated each other, and done all the catching up, she said,

“Well, enjoy your day with your beautiful little girl. You are so lucky to be a mama.”

And I was knocked flat.

Oh. Right. Mother’s day. Not a day to escape being a mother. A celebration of motherhood– all that I give, and all that I am given.

An old friend visited recently. She knows me about as good as anybody. On her last night in town, as I was finishing up a mama-bitch session, she asked whether there were any parts of mothering that I enjoyed.


Apparently I have not learned my lesson.

All I can say is, parenting is like nothing else. Nothing. It all starts with birth, and carries forth on a similarly mind-blowing level. It is so far beyond the hardest thing I ever imagined, and so far beyond the most joyful. It is truly intoxicating. To seed and grow new souls into the world– what greater privilege could there possibly be? What headier work?

Some days are blissful. My babies are vibrant budding souls and I am the model mama, mindful and nurturing.

Some days are the depths of hell. I writhe in confusion/disillusion/resentment/guilt/self-loathing until I have to go back to bed and pull the covers over my weeping eyes.

And we must take it all, like communion, with bowed head and downcast eyes. We are humbled before our babies, and ourselves; our gratitude and our responsibility. Humbled before our own power.

A couple of weeks ago, we were all standing in the kitchen, doing something utterly banal, I think I was pouring the Toddler juice. She looked up at me, and said, “You are a gate mama!” then turned to My Man and said, “You are a gate papa!”

Happy Mama Day to all you beautiful, hard-working, earnest-hearted mamas out there. In between the grapes, let us give thanks for the babies (and the papas) who make us what we are.

9 thoughts on “Happy Mama Day!

  1. My heart is aglow. What a beautiful and once again, reality checking post. I feel like slapping my forehead and groaning “Of course!”. How I wish we in the southern hemisphere were in a time zone behind you so I could have had this reminder BEFORE my day of indulgence. I was spoilt with love, home made cards, yummy breakfast, and a trip to the garden centre around the corner, me and the three wee ones. We then spent the remainder of the day planting things. What a divine day we had. But i confess I was quite firm ‘Its my day… all day…including the dishes part of the day…”. SO thanks for the reminder… again. x Katja

    1. i surely didn’t mean that that the appreciating the gift of being a mama has to be instead of getting worshipped! worship away!

  2. happy mammas day!! Yes thanks again. Ass kicked. check.
    having a disgusting week with baby and family but I was treated out with babe and hubby to a fantastic brunch at our local orgainc/local eatery. the clouds parted and by some act of god baby sat and happily nawed on whatever we gave her, smiled and stared at fellow patrons and gave us time to enjoy each other and her and have a really special time. It made the whole last few crappy weeks worthwhile!
    thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures of your cuties!

  3. I love your ass kicking revelations…wish I had had them when I was raising my babies. I guess I can live vicariously through you and your babies. I really enjoy reading other mamas’ comments too. It’s like listening in to a group of earth mamas. Ya’ll rock and thank you for putting into words what I never could.

    When I had my first baby, I was only 17…ahh, yeah. Not like today. Anyway, if we didn’t give our babies up for adoption, we got married and raised em. We got marital advice and mothering tips from fat ass sister-in-laws, that should we have really thought it out, we might not have askeed them. We didn’t have Oprah or Dr.Phil, thank God! I honestly believe that the advice we can glean from our girlfriends is much more valuable and timely then TV.

    I just wanted to thank you for keeping it real. You are such an incredible little girl. So yeah, have a great week and a belated happy Mothers Day, Elaine

  4. BEAUTIFUL post. You are a gate mama! And perfect pictures to go with it too! She is growing such a personality!!! Those eyelashes on that baby! Perfect blue eyes in both of them.

  5. We have a great deal- on Mothers Day, my husband takes the kids out, (as much as is reasonable,) and then for Fathers Day, he gets to spend the day with the kids!
    Plus, I claim American as well as British/Aussie Mothers Days- it’s good around here.

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