The ups and downs of motherhood.

This month I am reprising a column from 2006 with a few changes, so if it seems familiar to you it does not mean you are crazy!

I think a lot about what it means to be a mother, even more at this time of year. I am fortunate to have an amazing mother; one who was always there for me, one who supports and loves me no matter what, and one who is a fabulous example of what a mother should be. I am also fortunate to have a significant other who also has a great mom and I feel extremely fortunate to have her as part of my life.

My own children are grown; my son is 24 and my daughter will be 20 in just a few short weeks; and my views of what it means to be a mom have changed over the years. The one thing that has not changed is my admiration for moms because being a mom is the toughest thing I have ever done. For this Mother's Day I offer you my thoughts about what it means to be a mom

Being a mom is both the best and the worst thing you will ever do. I alternate between looking at these children of mine and thinking they are the most amazing things on earth and the most difficult things on earth! It is so hard to decide what the right thing to do is all the time. I want my kids to like me, but I also know I need to do things that will make them not like me. In the end, all I can do is my best I can and hope they don't talk about me in therapy someday (or that they get therapy if they do need to talk about me!) Being a mom is exhausting. Long ago I decided that the reason you stop sleeping during pregnancy is that you never sleep again until your children leave home and even then you don't always sleep. Being a mom is amazing. Watching these children grow and become people with their own thoughts and ideas is unbelievable. Being a mom is about making a lot of decisions. What to feed them, how to discipline, what to say yes to and no to, what choices to let them make on their own. The decisions never end. Being a mom means letting go. This becomes brutally obvious during the teen years when one day you wake up and realize that your baby is a grown person in his own right and you have to let him go to make his own mistakes, to have his own dreams and to learn his own lessons. This is both exhilarating and extremely painful. Being a mom means holding on. When I first had children I remember thinking that you are a mom until your child grows up and moves out. I will never forget the day I looked at my children and realized that I would be their mom for the rest of my life: I would always worry about them; I would always feel like I have to take care of them and protect them. The level of these things change, but they never go away. Being a mom is about making mistakes. I always wanted to be a mom when I was a kid and I thought I would be the perfect mom with the perfect family. That dream died a hard death for me and I have come to realize that one of the gifts I can give my children is to see me as a human who makes mistakes and has feelings rather than someone who is perfect. Being a mom is about telling them when you have made a mistake and about apologizing when you are wrong. Being a mom is about love. I remember my mom telling me when I was being a pain that she didn't like me very much right at that moment but that she always loved me. From this I learned what real love looks like and feels like and that no matter what I did she would always be there for me. This kind of love is something I want my children to experience from me first and from a partner later in life.
These lessons are not profound or extraordinary, but I have recently come to learn that often the simplest things are the very best. Being a mom is one of those things. Even on the days when you are wondering why you decided to go down this path, a smile from your little (or 16-year-old) girl and a hug from a little (or a 6-foot-tall) boy makes your day and you remember why you decided to be a mom. Happy Mother's day call your mom.