I thought I would have everything figured out by now. I’m a full grown adult woman, for goodness sake. But still when I have an important decision to make, I do the same thing I did when I was five: I ask my mom.
I am not a mother – so I can’t speak on the topic of motherhood from experience. However, I am a daughter. And I am a member of this miraculous tribe we call womanhood. I’ve watched my friends and family members move from singledom into motherhood, watched them have kids, and watched their kids have kids. And one thing always strikes me as profound: when you’re a mother, you put on the brave face and you know. Even when you don’t.
Helping to shape someone else’s well-being is both exhilarating and terrifying, whether they’re a significant other, best friend, client, family member, but most of all, a child. Mothers are not just caretakers, they’re pillars of strength and the very first role models we have. We view our mothers as superheros, as unshakable goddesses who get the job done. Button needs sewing back on? Call mom. Heart broken? Call mom. Car making a funny sound? Call mom. We come to expect that mom knows it all – because she always has.
And then we grow up, but really, we don’t. We catch glimmers of her humanness. She says things we don’t agree with or know not to be true. She sometimes needs you to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on. It’s a funny dichotomy, because in all her humanness and realness, we still hold one truth to be self-evident: that all moms are created equal. That she knows – and she’ll always know.
The times I am most in awe of the mothers in my life, including my own, are in their courageously vulnerable moments. The yogis call it “showing your underbelly.” I call it authentic honesty. It’s those times they admit they do not know. The times they feel lost, scared, confused, frustrated, or strikingly human. And they move forward anyway. Because they’re a mom.
As a daughter, I find my greatest strength when I hear my mom at a loss for words (and if you know my mom, that’s saying something) or lack of answers, and then in the very next moment she pivots and somehow knows exactly the support I need. She’ll admit frustration or exhaustion, then spin around to make some incredible connection happen in her life and I’ll have no idea how she did it.
The art of being a mom – and of being a woman – is in the dance. It’s in the way both the knowing and not knowing are able to live in harmony; that not having all the answers doesn’t mean that you won’t try your darndest to find them.
This Mother’s Day, let’s not just celebrate the way mothers hold our families together like glue, or the way they juggle twelve million things simultaneously. Let’s celebrate their courage, their honest moments, the times they show us how human they really are. Because we’re all human, and we’ll all feel lost or frustrated or exhausted at some point in our lives. Seeing examples of how to work through those moments will make us all stronger and feel less alone in our dark moments.
Because the bravest thing a woman can do as a mother is to feel everything to its fullest capacity, and show her children it’s not just okay to be imperfect, vulnerable, or not-know everything – it’s beautiful.