Once you become a mother, you don’t need to reminded of it. Your life becomes dedicated to mothering and many of the everyday things you do and decisions you make are based around your role as a mother. From the mundane everyday chores that go hand-in-hand with mothering to difficult decisions, like whether to stay at home or go back to (paid) work, us mothers incorporate our role into everything we do. We live, breathe, work, and sleep in our mother role. But when we live in a mother role, we often forget about it. It consumes our identity. And when something becomes all-encompassing, it often takes something profound to make us step back and recognize its meaning and value.
Ever since I became a mother roughly 3 years and 4 months ago, I occasionally have what I call a “mother moment.” It’s a moment that hits me in a significant way that reminds me of the importance of my mother role. From the moment our children enter the world, we want to protect them. It’s a basic maternal instinct. From aggressive drivers to mean children at the playground, we want to shield our children from the dangers, disappointments, and hurt that will inevitably surround their world. We would do anything for them, even if that means that we need to confront or even ignore our own fears. When I hear a bump in the night, I don’t hesitate to seek it out. When I see large spider, I don’t freak. When my baby is sick, I comfort with kisses and hugs without thinking twice of my own health. And when my son calls out for me in the middle of the night because of a bad dream, I run to him, no matter how tired I am. Unless the Dude beats me to the punch, which he often does.
Last week, it really hit me that my mother role overrules everything else. As our flight took off in the midst of stormy Utah clouds, we hit a great deal of very rocky turbulence. Since I am no longer the fearless flyer that I used to be, especially when I’m flying with my son, I could instantly feel fear taking over my otherwise calm demeanor. As I struggled to control my anxiety, I looked down at my son sitting next to me. His eyes were widened and he started to clutch his Curious George monkey tightly. In that moment, I pushed my anxiety and fear away. I didn’t have a choice. I soothingly told him that everything was just fine and then made a game out of the rocky motion – doesn’t it feel like a ride at Disneyland? Wheeeeee! We both giggled and relaxed. And then he slept for the remainder of the flight. I couldn’t sleep. All I could do was look down at my son and think about what I would do for him. There was nothing extraordinary about what I did to calm his fears. It was nothing compared to the things I would do to protect him. I’ll do whatever it takes. Because that’s just what we do.