With Mother’s Day being this Sunday my social media & news feed have been flooded with myriad postings on the greatness of motherhood. Everywhere I turn it’s all about moms. It’s basically a cauldron of Motherhood stew. Knowing full well I run the risk of overflowing said cauldron, I’m throwing my two cents into this interweb pot.
I have been blessed by knowing some amazing mothers, starting with my own. Many of the most influential people in my life have been moms. Some of these amazing moms never had children of their own, but adopted the kids of their friends. I know my own mother has far more than the 2 grandchildren that are part of our nuclear family. Moms truly are amazing creatures.
Looking back at all the things I’ve seen these moms do, I can’t help but think about the Spoon Theory. The Spoon Theory is a brilliant explanation of what it’s like to live with a chronic, often invisible, health problem. The theory likens our energy reserves to a stack of spoons. Each day we start out with a stack of spoons in our drawer. Every activity we engage in requires the use of one or more spoons. By the end of the day, many of us end up spoon-less, usually because we didn’t take any time for ourselves, which is what replenishes our spoon supply. The number of spoons necessary for any given activity varies from person to person. For those living with chronic illness, that stack of spoons is often smaller than other people’s and doesn’t replenish itself at the same rate as the average healthy person’s stack does. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so.
I think the Spoon Theory can be applied to motherhood as well. No matter what cards we’re dealt, motherhood is not easy for anyone – we all face our own struggles. We moms are notoriously tough on ourselves as well. We often overlook the myriad ways we use our spoons, and frequently fail to recognize things we’ve done well. In other words, we are quick to deplete our spoon supply, slow to take the time to replenish our spoon supply and often deny ourselves the extra spoons we deserve for a job well done.
I decided that today is a perfect day to share with you some spoon spending/earning moments I’ve witnessed in my circle of moms. Consider this little exercise in Mom Recognition as a chance to catalog all you do and as a reminder to repopulate your spoon drawer. If you’re not a mom, this can help you identify some ways in which you can help the mothers in your life pick up the spoons they so richly deserve.
- Moms are battle-tested warriors. I have watched moms fight for the proper diagnosis and medical treatment for their kids. I’ve witnessed battles with school districts to secure services for their kids. I’ve watched friends go to divorce court and fight for the best situation for their kids. I’ve also watched women graciously put their own hurt feelings away to keep from influencing their kids’ relationships with a former spouse.
- Moms are a security system. I’ve seen a mom step between a child and an irate father that’s ready to lash out. I’ve seen a mom jump into traffic to keep her child from being hit by a car, only to suffer the impact herself. I’ve seen moms walk on the outside of a hiking trail to keep their kids from falling/walking/running off the side of a mountain.
- Moms are gift givers. I’ve seen a mom give her child one of her cherished possessions. I’ve seen a mom give her children the gift of discipline, even when it would be so much easier to just give in. I’ve seen moms give the gift of responsibility by requiring their kids to do chores/homework, etc.
- Moms know the true definition of bone tired. I’ve watched moms get up at the butt crack of dawn to get kids to practice. I know moms that have stayed up until the wee hours of the morning providing moral support to a homework overloaded kid; or drying tears of a heartbroken teen; or picking a non-driver up from an event/job/band trip/college. And then there are the new moms that never get to sleep!
- Moms are providers. I know working moms, single moms, stay at home moms and they all provide for their kids in unimaginable ways. Time, money, transportation, sustenance, guidance, sanity. None of it is easy to give, and yet moms give generously and self-sacrificially.
- Moms are pride swallowers. I’ve watched moms courageously seek help from others because it’s what’s best for their kids. I’ve heard moms admit that they have made mistakes and offer apologies to their kids. I know a mom that took responsibility for the dysfunction of her family thereby absolving her kids of the tendency to blame themselves for things that were not their responsibility.
- Moms are closet criers. I’ve watched moms deal with petulant teens calmly, holding back hot tears until their child has left the scene of the emotional crime. Mothers that are ailing or in pain stuff it down to keep their kids from worrying. I’ve seen moms wave goodbye to their child and only after they’ve gone, give into their tears.
- Moms are Joy Bringers. I’ve watched a mom fighting cancer muster up the energy to laugh and joke with her kids. I’ve seen moms encourage kids to play in the mud; take kids to the pool on a hot day; watch an irritating kids movie on loop because it’s a favorite of her kids. If it brings a smile to the face of her children, moms do it.
I could go on for days on end sharing all the things I’ve seen moms do that deserve recognition. Moms spend a lot of spoons every day on the well being of those around them. The amazing thing about that though, is that it often takes very little to replenish a mom’s spoon drawer. A smile from a child, a heartfelt thank you, a compliment from a friend for a job well done. Each of those can replace more than one spoon. You never know how impactful a few kind words can be, especially for us moms.
Sunday may be Mother’s Day, but it takes more than one day to replenish your spoon drawer. If you’re a mom, then from here on out I encourage you to take the time you need to collect your spoons. Whether that involves a few moments to yourself, a lunch out with friends, or even a night in enjoying your family, just do it. If you’re not a mom, I challenge you to find ways to replenish the spoon drawers of the moms in your life.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. I hope and pray that you hold onto this undeniable truth: You deserve all the spoons.