Motherhood is a whirlwind of emotions, happenings, and milestones that definitely make you feel like someone whose Inside Out characters are constantly fighting for the controls. Changing the world? What is that! But then one day your child does something or says something that is exactly like you - and you realize, probably yet again, that you are in charge of this little spirit and they look to you for all their guidance.
The woman at the center of my world growing up was often my Grandma Jan. She is the absolute pinnacle of motherhood in my mind. Not that she's perfect, because no one ever is, but because she tries hard. Her door is always open, and behind it is always a huge hug and kiss with a smidgen of advice and a huge dose of love. So, what wisdom has Grandma Jan imparted to me as a new(ish) mom? Let me tell you with some help from her and other friends of mine, Aubrey and Ali.
A Mother's Heart is Different than a Regular Heart.
I had my first child via C-Section so when I came out of recovery it was only my mom and dad there to be with me because my husband with with our son.I was already pretty weepy but I remember I kept saying (while sobbing) to my mom, "know I know how much you love me!" over and over again. And I truly thought I did. But looking back it was only that start, my love grew for my boy, and my mother when we had our first sleepless nigh together or when he got his first shots, when he first said I love you back, or when he would run to me when he gets scared. My love only grows every single day for my children and I imagine that doesn't really ever stop. It grows when they succeed and when they fail, it grows when we're getting along and even when we aren't. My mom would always say, "mom's don't get days off", and now I get it, because even when I get the much needed alone time, all I want is to be cuddling and hanging with my favorite pals. - Ali Lews, The Joy In ItGrandma Jan always says, "A Mother's Heart loves more deeply and unconditionally than anyone can ever believe is humanly possible." You see, a Mother's Heart can feel things that a regular heart can't. A Mother's Heart can withstand things that a regular heart can't. Why? Because we have to and we need to for our little ones! Our babes desperately need parents who can withstand all of the heartache that children can sometimes bring. They desperately need parents who are going to reach deep down and understand exactly what they are feeling when they are feeling it. That divine strength and divine empathy is really what makes a Mother, a Mother. That is why my Grandma Jan is who I go to when I really need someone to understand me - I can't tell you how many times I have cried in her arms or begged her for advice. I always leave her home feeling comforted, loved, and understood - just as a Mother always does!
Do You Laugh or Do You Cry?
Motherhood. The title where one minute you feel like you are changing the world one day at a time with a clean house, baby on hip, and everyone fed and in bed on time. But the next minute you feel like you just got chewed up and spit out onto the freeway. Sometimes being a mom is really hard, but just because something is hard doesn't mean it can't be beautiful. You might not think you're "Changing the world", but to those little eyes looking up at you, you are. - Aubrey Grossen, The Mamahood Blog
Grandma Jan is one of the most positive people I know. She is usually trying to find the bright star on the horizon that will keep her moving forward. Here is her little nugget that she got from her mom: "You have two choices: to laugh or cry. But if you laugh you are more socially accepted."
Now, I absolutely completely agree that a good long ugly-cry sesh can do wonders for a Mother's soul. That is not what this little nugget means to stray away from. Nope. what this means is that after that good long ugly-cry sesh you are going to look for the humor in it all. Felt terrible because you may or may not have accidentally dropped you 1-month-old a foot off the ground because you were about to pee your pants in the middle of the night and couldn't bend down far enough to set her all the way there? Don't worry, you and your mom buds will seriously have a good laugh about it in the future (trust me).
Crying can be good. But too much of anything is a bad thing. Grandma Jan has taught me that there are too many mistakes that you make in Motherhood so you absolutely must find the humor in it - otherwise you'll never survive!
Don't Forget the Fun!
You never know how much fun you are having until you are done having it! - Grandma Jan
Because I'm a fairly serious individual that
likes loves to have everything in her life planned out, Grandma Jan reminds me of this a lot. I'm always looking forward to the next stage of my family's lives. It's always, "I can't wait for school to end so we can do _____!" or "I can't wait until Hallie's old enough for ______!" Whenever I say things like that she looks at me knowingly and says, "You know, Michelle, where you're at right now is where the fun is." And of course I try to justify it and she just smiles and nods her head as all Grandmother's do. And you know what? She's right. It is fun right now! It's fun to see my daughter learning words and getting SO excited when she learns a new one! It's fun to watch her gain even more control over her body and run around the entire house! It's fun to watch her learn how to play with other kids and interact! So, in all the hassle of life - the grocery shopping, the car rides, the work, the cleaning, the planning - don't forget that right now is when you are having fun. Right now is fun, you just need to remember it.
So, all my mama's out there - whether you're a mother from having your own children, a mother in your community, or a mother to everyone around you - remember these 3 things and you will be able to change the world:
1. You love differently because your heart is different.
2. Crying is only good for a minute. Chin up, you're doing an amazing job!
3. The fun is happening right in front of you - keep your eyes open and don't miss it!