A note about motherhood...
This past weekend I had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of a mother. My godsister has always been a goddess to me. She was the "cool cousin" growing up - stylish, big personality, popular, smart, outgoing. She was the "it girl" in my book. Since we've gotten older, I have seen her take on various roles and continue to be in awe of her. Due to a life shift a few years ago, she began taking on the brunt of parenting her three precocious children all while maintaining her composure, killing it professionally and still maintaining all the aforementioned characteristics, and wearing heels while at it! So when she decided to honor travel plans made months in advance even though it fell on the weekend of Homecoming for her two high schoolers, she made the tough decision to ask for help. And she asked me.
I don't know how I got the call or why for that matter. I am childless and my life is a bit of a hot mess right now. But somehow she had faith enough in me to make that call. She put together a color coded agenda for her three kids and we even had a planning call to go over each step to make sure nothing got missed. When I tell you she was ON IT with the planning...she was ON.IT. I handled elementary school pick up (I need to write an ENTIRE piece about my carpool lane experience - WTF is happening there?), ironing suits for homecoming, picking up and dropping off the boys to get haircuts, getting corsages for the boys' dates, taking the youngest to her Halloween fair on Saturday, yelling at the kids to fold the laundry, getting the boys ready for the Homecoming dance, dropping them off for Homecoming dinner, taking millions of pre-dance pictures, and picking up the boys and their dates from the dance and driving them all to their respective homes. And that was just the logistical part of it all. Somehow I managed to field text messages from the boys about after parties all while making slime, researching science experiments and answering a million questions from her youngest daughter who reminds me so much of myself at her age. Mind you - all of this took place in the span of 48 hours. And I was exhausted. So when I tell you that I've always put my godsister on a pedastal, that pedastal just got 10 feet taller when I realized that what I went through in 48 hours is what she has to do on a daily basis, often without help and never with a complaint.
All of you mothers out there are nodding your heads up and down because this sounds like a typical day for each of you, I assume. But for me, I was just given this amazing glimpse into what it is to be a mother. I'm totally on the outside looking in and let me tell you - my hat is OFF to all of you. I have an amazing mother who I honor and adore and appreciate not only for everything she did and continues to do for me, but also for being the epitome of Super Woman. But I never really got to fully see what she must have had to do to make it happen. And now I've seen it firsthand.
I must admit - I didn't appreciate what I was getting myself into when I said, "sure girl, I got you." I love my godsister's kids and have a close bond with her baby girl so I didn't think twice about it. But more than that, it was the right thing to do. You see, she has sacrificed so much for her kids, including her own free time. So when called upon to help her take a moment for herself to breathe and recharge her battery - of course I said yes. And I would do it again in a heartbeat.
A few takeaways from this weekend about motherhood:
1) My godsister's decision to honor her travel plans knowing all that was going on at home was not one she reached without feeling some guilt. It's a shame that mothers have to beat themselves up - even a little - to make the decision to put themselves first. I'm glad she did it because she deserved it, but I hate that she even had to deal with people who judged her for making that choice. It's unfair and people just need to back the hell up and give the sista a minute to just BE...
2) I don't pretend to know ANYTHING about being a mother based on 48 hours of experience, but I can say that there was a brief moment during the weekend when I said, "what the hell is going on? I think I might die." So, that woman crying in the car next to you at the corner is probably a mother and she's probably exhausted and just needs your understanding. I will give her the thug head nod and a thumbs-up of appreciation from now on.
3) Spending time with kids teaches you about yourself. I loved being able to experience life through these kids' eyes. From how they think to what excites them to what bothers them, the perspective I got this weekend was priceless.
4) Being the "cool aunt" is kind of awesome. Those closest to me know that motherhood isn't really something on my "to-do" list. But being the fun aunt who won't think twice about rolling the shopping cart down the toy aisle at the grocery store just to get you that thing your mom won't buy you? - yea, sign me up for that...and then I'm taking your ass right on home at the end of the day!