Jael on Being a Mom
Being a Mom.
Can we be real a sec? Mothering ain’t easy. It can be beautiful and messy; frustrating and deeply fulfilling; unpredictable and humbling. My boys are now 12 and 14 - yep, two middle schoolers. When my kids were babies, people would always say, “this time is precious! It will be over soon!” And while they’re not wrong, my experience has been that parenting keeps getting cooler as they grow older. You think it’s cool watching someone learn to talk or crawl or get teeth? (I mean, it is.) Imagine watching them learn to master the baritone sax, or get on the A honor roll for the first time, or navigate their first romantic relationship. It’s a damn miracle to watch them grow up, and it honestly just keeps getting better. Right now, I’m insanely grateful that they still ask me to tuck them in every night.
Sometimes I feel like an awesome mom, other times... not so much. Like when I yell at my kid because I’m struggling with a situation, or when I wake everyone up too late to catch the school bus, or let Max watch Fortnite for hours when he really should be playing outside. It’s a really hard job, y’all. We’re conditioned to think we can be superheroes with the perfect school lunch, packed activity schedule, and clean socks every day. But we’re just humans, doing our best, ok? What do you say we give each other a break this Mother’s Day.
I learned a new word recently from the world’s best Uber driver (who lives in Chicago and also taught me about Whirlyball and the big four thrash metal bands: Megadeath, Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer, in case you’re wondering). The word is storge. The Ancient Greek philosophers believed in four types of love: Eros, the romantic kind; Agape, the love between human and their God; Philia, or “brotherly”/friendship-based love; and finally Storge. Storge is the kind of instinctual and emotive love felt between parents and their kids. From the moment my kids came into my life, the love I felt was transformational and my life seemed to make more sense. I can’t help but love them, even when they test the limits via tantrums, arguments, or straight up defiance. It’s comforting to rely on this kind of consistent love - for them and for me. Storge is not fleeting; it is not impermanent. It is instantaneous and intensifies over time. It is, for me, love at its most pure.
I know mom/kid relationships can be challenging, broken or non-existent. If some of you no longer have your mom (or your kid), or don’t have a relationship with them, I see you. If you have kids and you feel like you’re about to lose it, I see you. If you feel like you can’t devote as much time to your kiddos as you want to because of work or life, I see you (I am you).
If you think chocolate might help (it certainly can’t hurt), maybe you want to try a limited edition cocktail collection? Or my personal favorite, a box of peanut butter tumblers? They always make it better for me. A couple pieces in, you might realize, whatever your messy and beautiful situation, that everything is going to be ok.
Big love to all the mamas and nurturers out there. I love you.
p.s. The challenge of motherhood can start even before the kid enters the earthly realm. I talked a bit about some challenges I had in my first pregnancy in this talk at Creative Mornings Asheville, in case you want to really get to know me and my humanity (Listen, my dad even said he learned things about me after watching!).