Here’s the Thing: Happy Mother’s Day

It truly is Mother’s Day, because I’m a mother that’s feeling a little burned out.

I feel like that’s on point. There’s like two weeks of school left (or something) and my bank account feels the burn of field trips and future summer activities that my kids are involved in. If I added it up it could have possibly saved a small nation. For now, we take it day by day as usual. Happy Mother’s Day to those of you hanging in there.

I’ve never felt like a typical mother. I mean, when people look at me I don’t really want, “She looks like a mother,” to be the first thing that crosses their mind. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I’ve worn the maternity clothes, carried the baby weight, smelled like spit up, and paid my dues.

So for now I enjoy telling people that my daughter is going into junior high, because I’m vertically challenged and they look at me like I’m the one that just got out of junior high. My daughter is a tiny bit taller than me and we share shoes, so I make an effort to buy her nicer shoes now. She is only 11. In seven years she can vote.

Her future consumes my mind as I try to juggle the rest of our family’s lives and my own during this very busy time — where every day in the month of May feels like a Monday. You are welcome to quote that or tattoo it on your arm. This month it’s a spiritual gift that I haven’t completely lost it yet. There’s still time.

My daughter has outgrown elementary school, so it’s hitting a special place in my heart as I watch her develop into a middle schooler. Mothers of babies have milestones like teething, walking, becoming a toddler. Mothers of small children start to notice their little identity. When your kids get bigger the “milestones” sort of stall out as they are just becoming solid people. So it’s been a while since I’ve had to pay attention to her jumping into a new stage of life.

The most overwhelming part is hoping she is secure in her self worth. Not everyone is kind and caring. When you are too strong or too smart, you could be lonely at the top in a selfie obsessed culture. Girls often dumb down to be liked. As a preteen your ego is more focused on having a teenage pizza face instead of a great personality and hard work. Fair enough. That struggle continues into adulthood. Nobody is whistling at your “personality”. Even now a girl that poses in a way to show off her sexuality will usually get more attention then the disciplined girl with multiple accomplishments. There is a time and place for both, but as a strong female raising a daughter, this has all been on my mom radar.

It’s easy to be intimidated by it all, especially when preteens are old enough to talk back, have their own valid opinions, and creating an identity for themselves. We’re in the beginning stages of when we don’t see eye to eye it’s a special kind of frustrating. They’re their own person and I’ve got to learn how to be strict and friendly at the same time. I’m not scared of her growing up, she has always been way more mature than I ever was and somewhat of an old soul. She got those traits from her dad, because I was a menace, plain and simple.

Here’s the thing: I’m learning how to be there for her in a new way. That’s what being a mother means to me right now. Always adapting to the needs of my kids that keep growing. To bridge the gap when they need it, but otherwise try to stand back and let them grow on their own. There is a difference between running away and letting go. I already know that my daughter is the stage five clinger that we’ll have to push out of the nest. I also know that her little brother will not just leave the nest, he will throw up a peace sign as he slingshots out.

It’s inevitable that your children grow up and in that process we grow as mothers. My body will forever be a scrambled egg after carrying two human beings. And that’s OK. We make peace with ourselves on a daily basis, because there’s an unconditional grace we carry for our children that we also deserve for ourselves. Being a mother comes with fears you’ve never felt, strength you’ve never known, and a constant courageous love. Love is powerful in the sense that when my daughter was born, so was I. (And now she’s 11 and I steal her shoes.)

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at columnkasi@gmail.com.

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