“There is only one of me,” I whisper gently to myself. A secret pat on the back, honoring the amazing mom I am. Nobody else can love my babies like I do. Nobody else can care for them the same way. Nobody else can know them as deeply as I do. I guess I’m pretty darn special. Unique.
There is only one of me.
“There is only one of me!” I scream so loud and rough that my throat hurts afterward. It’s not my finest moment–it’s me at my breaking point when three kids are all calling out, “Mom! . . . Mom? . . . Mom . . . at the same time for all different needs and wants, and my head is spinning and my heart is hurting and I can’t catch my breath and I can’t do it all because seriously there is only one of me and why can’t these kids just understand that and have some patience as I try to listen to, watch, respond to, react to, cater to, and support each one of them?
There is only one of me, I realize as I have to make choices balancing career and family life, planning which kid’s activity I’ll attend when they all want me at their own. There is only one of me, making choices daily to make sure I’m doing what’s right for each child’s needs, taking turns in cuddling them, holding them, talking with them, watching them, cheering them on.
There is only one of me, but I can juggle a lot.
I can nurse a baby, read with a kindergartener, and bathe a toddler all at once. I can drink my coffee, hold a bowl of snacks for my son to eat from, and play air hockey all at once. It takes a village, and I’ve got a strong one around me, but in the moment, in the early mornings of motherhood, there is only one of me, and I can do it all.
There is only one of me, and I’m tired at the end of the day. I’m often tired at the start of the day, too. Because as each year of parenting passes, I know if I don’t get up to be with my kids, then time will swirl away faster than that little whirlpool around the drain at the end of bathtime and take with it the snuggles of hooded towels and after-bath sillies, and I’ll miss the moments that matter so much, and even the ones that seem to matter so little but end up being imprinted on my heart forever.
There is only one of me who my boys will remember as their mom. I hope they’re watching me, sensing my energy, my stress, my love, my laughter. Will they remember baking pumpkin bread with me? Or doing arts and crafts? Or the time I let them have ice cream for dinner and for dessert? Will they realize how kind I am and how desperately I want that to wear off on them? How supportive I am and how I’m always in their corner even when they don’t think I am?
There is only one of me, and I wish my kids understood my intentions, even in those tween and teen years, when I’m trying to do what’s right, to show what’s right, while helping them grow into young adults who can make their own good decisions.
I’m on their side though they don’t always see it.
There is only one of me, so I better take care of myself. As the saying goes, nobody else will stay up late at night worrying about all the things a mother worries about. Will my son be made fun of because he’s short? Will my son be irresponsible in college? Will my boys move away and leave me with an aching heart equally full of joy for them following their dreams? Did I fill out the field trip permission slip? Did I remember to send the birthday party invitations? Did I buy the right school supplies? Did my kids go to bed tonight feeling safe and happy and loved?
There is only one of me. And I’ve finally realized how critically important and special that is. Kids don’t always know how to ask for what they need, but somehow moms know how to give it. That kiss goodnight from mommy is like none other, a surprise cupcake or fidget toy after school or a note in a lunch box, the way we fold the laundry or make cinnamon toast.
There is only one of me, and I’m going to give this motherhood thing all I’ve got.
There is only one of you, too, and your family is so lucky to have you.