Motherhood changes us in all-encompassing and often unexpected ways.
It alters how we relate to everything and everyone around us—our own mothers in particular.
But even though we feel those changes deeply and genuinely, they can often be tough to express in words. Here, I try to give voice to some of the things we moms want to tell our own moms now that we’ve assumed that title for ourselves, too.
Just because we parent differently doesn’t mean we think you did it wrong.
You bottle-fed, I’m breastfeeding. You cloth diapered, I’m going disposable. You worked inside the home, I’m working outside too. You sent me to public school, I’m homeschooling.*
And on and on.
In most families the contrasts like these are many. What we moms want you, our own moms, to know is that when we choose a different path, that’s all it is—different. We’re not implying you made the wrong choice, and we’re not judging you. Because we know you were just doing the best you could, exactly like we are now.
Thank you, thank you, thank you…and sorry!
There aren’t enough thank you’s in the world to express the gratitude we now feel for you, mom—for every dinner cooked, for every sleepless night, for every time you said “no” to yourself so you could say “yes” to us.
We thank you for making all those sacrifices—the ones we’re making for our own kids now.
And we’re sorry. So very, very sorry. For the times we yelled, “You’re ruining my life!” (because now we realize you were doing just the opposite). For the times we slammed the door and left you feeling gut-punched. And especially for the times we scared the living daylights out of you.
We honestly didn’t know what we were doing to you—but now we do.
When we say, “Oh my gosh, I’m becoming my mother!” we’re only half-horrified by that realization.
There’s also a part of us that is very, very pleased.
Why? Because we’re proud of who we are, of who we have become under your guidance. We want to guide our kids down a similar path, even if that means echoing you in ways we swore we never would.
We still need you…but sometimes we don’t (because you did your job).
We’re still going to call you when we can’t figure out what to buy as a wedding present or why our chocolate chip cookies didn’t turn out like yours. We’re still going to ask your advice before we buy a house or a car or a one-way ticket to a new city.
We still need your help navigating this crazy world.
But not all the time—not even when it comes to our own kids.
Because, you see, you did your job: You raised us to be thoughtful, responsible, independent people. Which is why we can often manage just fine without step-by-step instructions from you, tempted as you may be to give them.
What’s more, now that we’re moms ourselves, we’ve been blessed with those amazing mothering instincts. You used yours to take care of us, and now we need to use (and trust) ours to take care of our own kids.
We finally realize how much you love us.
You always said it was a lot: to the moon and back, more than the sand on the beach and the salt in the ocean, more than yesterday and less than tomorrow, etc. etc.
When we were kids we had no idea what you meant. Then when we were young adults we thought you were just talking in hyperbole.
But now we see that hyperbole is the only way to talk about a mother’s love for her child. Exaggerated language is the best means we have for describing how our hearts have stretched and swelled and ballooned with love, threatening to burst right out of our chests at our child’s first cry or first day of preschool or first romance.
Sometimes we wonder how we can even walk around with that much love in our hearts.
Here’s how: The same way you did—and continue to do—with all that love you have for us.
Do any of these ring true for you? What do you want your mom to know now that you’re a mom yourself?
*These are hypotheticals, and not all true for me personally.
image via Ivan Kruk/Dollar Photo Club
13 responses to “What Moms Want Their Own Moms to Know”
What I realize since becoming a mom is that my own mom did the best she could. I’m doing the best I can, too!
So true! There are some things we don’t realize or understand until we become mothers ourselves, and then we just get it, and appreciate our own moms that much more.
Aw. I really love this! Such truth you speak. I think I want to call my mom now! 🙂
Aww, do it!
To this day, I’m still thanking my mother. She is now the world’s best grandmother. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t call her for advice and encouragement!
I’m the exact same way!
Beautifully put! It’s sometimes hard for moms to realize that they’re done with the active parenting stage, and you described it succinctly and with kindness.
Thank you, Nikki!
I called my mom and apologized many times for things I did as a child that I did not realize until my kids did them. Great post!
It took a long time for me to realize that my mom, like me now, didn’t have a manual to raise myself and my two younger sisters. She really did do the best she could – with each new step in this whole parenting life, I have called and said “I get it now – and I am sorry”
It’s really impossible to realize until we become moms ourselves, don’t you think?