I am not one to wear a hat unless I am headed out for a walk and it’s raining, but I do like to think of the many roles I have had in my 50+ years of life as the hats I’ve worn. It conjures up so many fun pictures in my mind. So here are a few of them in no particular order: classroom teacher, wife, single, divorced, married, mom, widow, step-mom, mother-in-law, grammie, stay-at-home-mom, daughter, sister, working mom, and daughter-in-law. Some of these hats have been challenging to wear, some fun, and some unbelievably difficult. While all of them shaped me into the woman I am today, the one I have found most rewarding is the mom hat.
I was 29 when I had my first child and I was a classroom teacher. When asked if I’d be returning to the classroom after having my baby I said a resounding, “ABSOLUTELY!” Being a teacher was just who I was. However, by the time my second child was three, life had intervened in ways I could never have seen coming, and I saw the value in being a stay-at-home mom.
I never imagined I’d find such joy in building block tower after block tower only to have my daughters knock it down. Or in watching a Wee Sing video over and over throughout the night because it was the only thing that calmed down my two year old who had a horrible ear infection. Or in reading the same book for the 20th time. Or being awakened by my youngest child in the middle of the night because she wanted to be rocked and snuggled. Hard times, fun times, tired times, frustrating times, challenging times, but in the end, like everyone always says— super rewarding.
My two daughters, who I raised on my own for nearly half of their life, have grown into beautiful young women inside and out. I have a great relationship with them both, and I could not be more proud of them.
My oldest chose to go to college in Illinois where she met her husband. I thought when I left her at college in a state 2100 miles and two time zones away that I had let go of her, but I didn’t really feel that to its fullest extent until she got married last year. She’s no longer ‘mine’ so-to-speak. That was a lot harder than I imagined it would be (and yet I LOVE the man she married). Letting go is always hard. I’ve often said we raise our children to be strong, confident, responsible, independent young people and then…they actually go and do it! (The nerve, right?)
Thankfully, my youngest daughter is close to home; a fact she likes to point out regularly to her big sis. In my perfect little world, she would have moved home during her current transitional time and we would have lots of mom & daughter bonding time (she recently graduated from the University of Portland with a bachelor’s degree in nursing). But it’s not my perfect little world. Like I said, we raise our kiddos to be strong, confident, responsible and independent, and then they go and do it. (I really can’t complain though; she’s only 20 minutes away.)
I’ve been a mom for 24 years now. Was I a perfect mom? NO! I made more mistakes than I can even begin to number and I lost my cool a LOT… I mean CRAZY a lot. But I believe I did two things well: I told them and showed them I loved them all the time, even when they were being naughty. Second, when I blew it, I always told them how sorry I was. I am convinced that those two things made a huge difference in my daughters’ lives, and it helped me wear my ‘mom’ hat in a more dignified manner… even though it was a little crooked at times.
So tell me mamas, what helps you wear your mom hat in a dignified manner? Or what knocks it askew? Anything make you want to take it off? Many of you are in the trenches of motherhood and you may not be feeling many rewards. But years from now, I trust that you also will find it to be the most rewarding hat of all.
Shari has been an Oregonian for 25+ years and can’t imagine living anywhere else. She’s the mom to two adult daughters, step-mom to another daughter and a son, and a grammie to two little ones. She and her husband, Clay, love traveling, RVing, and walking. You will not find her on Pinterest because there’s not a creative bone in her body. Thankfully, though, she has lots of crafty friends. Her two passions (after her family) are children and women; so you may find her volunteering at the local school or serving the women of her church. You can check out what she’s doing there at www.bcc.org.