I am not a mother. To say I understand what a mother's role entails would be incredibly false. Nothing convinced me of that more than my visit last week to see my sister, who recently gave birth to a baby girl.
I knew that motherhood involved rotating your entire life to the whills of your child. They're hungry? You need to feed them. They're tired? You need to put them to bed. They're wet? You gotta change them. You can postpone things or push them off - they need to get done, and they need to get done now.
I spent a majority of my visit helping out wherever I could - from cleaning up the dinner dishes to taking turns with my niece to just stepping back and letting the master (i.e. my sister) do her work.
On Thursday my sister took me with her and my niece to a clinic where they hold something every week called "New Mom's Coffee." Naturally, I was the only one there - besides the leader - who came without a child. All the children present were six months old or younger - a few were mere weeks old. The mothers were of all ages and backgrounds, and shared something with my sister - they were raising a new child and would do everything in their power to make sure their child was taken care of.
Now, I could have suggested that my sister not go to this session since I was present. But since she is starting a new schedule this week, this would be her last time attending, and she was really wanting to attend.
Some moms might think that getting together to talk about what they're doing in the realm of raising a child would be low on the scale of importance, but seeing these moms get together made me see how important that connection of mothers is. An older lady or a motherless woman might give these moms advice because they think they know best, but they don't. When a mom holding a three-month old tells you advice, you can trust it because of what she's holding. She's been through it, and she's telling you how it was.
Each mom introduced herself and her child to the group. The room was large with floor chairs for the moms and thick cushions for the babies. The moms would bring their arsenal of items: diaper bag, extra change of clothes, diapers, bottles, and maybe even additional items. As each mom talked, they expressed moments of triumph as well as times throughout the week where they were struggling. Other moms would offer their advice and words of encouragement as babies slept, ate, were changed, or snuggled with mommy.
One of the quotes that stuck with me was said by the leader. She mentioned that a mom should get out of the house at least once a day, even if it was just going outside on the porch. Being a mom sometimes feels like isolation, and getting those moments outside or with friends can be a very freeing feeling.
That made me realize why my sister loved going there. Not only was this a chance for her to communicate with fellow mothers, it was her chance to get out from the ordinary routine. We weren't able to do much because of my niece, but we didn't just sit around the house repeating the change, eat, sleep steps over and over again. Things like New Mom's Coffee gives the moms some relief, no matter what their home situation is like.
I learned a lot about being a mom during this trip, so much that I texted my mother in the airport, thanking her for being such an awesome mother to me.
Her reply just summed up what motherhood is like - something I'm seeing in my sister and my best friends as they become mothers this year:
"Aw, thanks honey! It was a labor of love."