As friends and co-workers celebrate their kids’ high school and college graduations, I’m struck by the staggering investment that an involved parent makes in each child’s life. Yet the decades-long dedication comes so automatically to most, as there is simply no other way we could imagine acting towards our own children. So here’s a short list of why “everything” is the best way I can describe what moms give to their kids.
- I know moms give everything, because each child comes into this world essentially as a blank slate, yet year after year they develop in amazing ways.
- Unlike many/most mammals, human infants are completely helpless at birth, leading some to say that we need a “fourth trimester.” You won’t see us walking on our own within an hour of birth like a giraffe calf or a foal. Hold me mom, just for a year or so!
- Most moms don’t know when to stop; they seem to want to give everything. They see and fill gaps, like a need for a school volunteer, a need for a conversation at a key moment, or a need to pack 20 contingency items in a diaper bag which seems ridiculous until you realize most of them were actually needed. Dad stands corrected.
- Moms give everything because kids will take everything they’re given.
- Moms tend to think of themselves last. They may be the only ones on the plane who actually need the instruction to place the oxygen mask on themselves first before helping others.
- Raising a good kid requires so much: teaching manners, hygiene, language, habits, compassion, patience, negotiation, and on and on. Giving everything is required.
- The needs can’t wait. A mom’s to-do list can’t be put off, because the baby is crying now, meal time is now, potty time is…whoops, too late on that one. See what I mean?
- Motherhood is a non-stop commitment for decades, ridiculously over and above any normal job, as has been well-articulated in this job interview video circulating this year.
- For a time, a child’s parents may represent the entirety of the world around them, modeling how humans act and interact. Our interplay lays the foundation for how they will eventually get along with: classmates, authority figures, friends, co-workers, spouses, their own children… you name it.
- Lastly, I know moms give everything because kids are amazing. Starting from newborns they somehow grow into such rich individuals, with so much to offer the world.
This Mother’s Day my hope for every parent is that you’ll pause to admire your kids, recognize how amazing they have become, and take a little credit for being a huge part of that result. I know some days parenthood can feel like the machine in The Princess Bride which can suck a year of your life away all at once, and that may not be too far off from reality. But it’s worth it, right? Right?!? Ryan P.S. Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear your thoughts. By the way, we parents get a lot back too, it’s a two-way street! P.P.S. As we’ve done the last couple years, we’re giving our 5-star meal planning app away in appreciation for moms everywhere, this weekend only. Please spread the word and enjoy!