I'm not sure how it happened. But I know it happened. Because they all sit at my kitchen table and eat my food. I think to myself...there are so many of them. And they are so old. Which means I must be....nah uh...not going there!! :P
Life as the mother of seven just kind of happened. It wasn't planned - I am not religious and I do value birth control (because I get asked that a lot) - I just had this unshakable feeling that I would know when the family I was meant to have was complete. And when our last was born, the feeling came over me and there was no denying it...might have had something to do with the epidural wearing off and thinking oh my god I am never doing this again but no, seriously, I just kinda knew. My family was complete. And perfect in all its imperfection.
Motherhood is not all roses. Our culture romanticizes the role and I think it causes harm because when it's not going great and we feel that we are failing it can be isolating when it appears that everyone else is breezing through it. Motherhood is a never ending ride with someone else at the wheel! When you are so tired you can't get out of bed to nurse yet one more time, when the kindergarten teacher calls yet one more time, when your teenager makes a mistake they can't take back, when your almost graduate decides to drop out of school, when they move out....and then back in.
The whole ride is a rollercoaster of emotion, doubt, worry, anxiety, fear....and a depth of love that can't be explained or captured with words.
I am often asked "How do you manage with seven kids???" or the blunt version "Why? Why did you have seven kids?" or my favourite interaction usually goes like this...
Nice Person: "So, do you have kids?"
Nice Person: "Oh cool...boys, girls?"
Nice Person: "Oh that's nice...I have one of each. You?"
Me (having tried to avoid where this is headed):
"I have 5 sons & 2 daughters"
Nice Person: "Sorry... how many??"
Me: "Seven amazing kids"
Nice Person (after looking me up & down): "Wow, you don't look like you have seven kids"
Me: "Thanks, I guess?"
Cause really....what does that even mean??! Even though I think it's a well meaning compliment, it tells us a lot about our preconceived ideas of what motherhood 'looks' like. Does the number seven signal frazzled? disheveled? obese? I can tell you my husband does not get the same questions or the same look - so what it is about the words 'mother' and 'seven' together that gets that reaction??
Maybe it's because we can be so quick to judge...so quick to try to fit each other into the tiny boxes of our own conclusions. If anything mothers need, it's for all other mothers/fathers/people to just give them a hug. A smile. One high five...for just being awesome. Because you are. No matter how many kids, how many fur babies, no matter if it's your own children or you are now nurturing and caring for your own aging parents. Mothering comes in all forms.
My favourite definition of the word mother is "to bring up with care and affection" because when we 'raise' one another, when we 'lift' each other with care and affection we are mothering.
So let's ALL mother.
And not just on Mother's Day but every day.
Love & Laughter ~ T xo
(It's really tough for us to stand still long enough to take a photo :P)