Menifee Mom: A Time to Remember All the Blessings

By Karen Thomas

Mother's Day: A time to pause and think of all the things good women do for children. Whether it's their own child or not, so many women sacrifice so much of themselves for the well-being of another.

I think most of us didn't fully appreciate all our mothers did for us until we became a parent ourselves and experienced how difficult it is. Each stage of our children's lives are filled with challenges. Sometimes the only thing that gets us through it is the love we have for our kids.

I was remembering the other day how hard it was when my youngest was a baby and I had three somewhat needy elementary kids. When it was time to do homework, it seemed they all needed help at the same time. I'd go from kid to kid, answering questions, only to hear, "Mom, (the baby) is coloring on my homework!"

Sure enough, my youngest had climbed up on the table and was scribbling all over their work. I guess she saw all of us staring at those papers and was just trying to figure out what was so interesting. Or, she was trying to remove the object that was taking my attention away from her.

In a moment, she'd reach her hand out and grab the papers and have them scrunched up and torn. My attempts to pull her away from the table brought screaming and crying like only a toddler can do, further frustrating homework efforts. The next thing I'd hear was, "I can't concentrate with her crying like that!"

No need to blame dogs. In our house, the note to school sometimes read, "I'm sorry, but the baby ate her homework."

Bedtime offered different challenges. So many nights, our bedtime routine included sitting on the floor trying to lull the baby to sleep while reading bedtime stories to the older children. Of course, the baby would usually end up crying and our story would be interrupted. Instead of the picture perfect routine of tucking kids in at night, we often ended up with crying and chaos because there just weren't enough parents to handle everyone's wants at the same time.

As the kids get older the challenges don't necessarily get easier, they just change. Once they get home from school, the day often turns into a whirlwind of activity. Helping kids study for tests, buying supplies for projects, showing them how to do a Power Point presentation, studying the math book in effort to help them with a problem, consoling a kid who's had a tough day, making them dinner, or figuring out how to get four kids to four different activities that always seem to start at the same time are just a few of the things we juggle in those short hours between school and bedtime.

Yes, being a mom is a challenge. Often Dads do so much to help out, and I'm not discounting that. They too play an important role in the life of a child. But in most cases the juggling is left to the mom. Though we often get down on ourselves for our inability to be everything to everyone all the time, the efforts we make do matter. Our caring and love alone make a difference in the lives of the children around us.

I hope that last weekend we all remembered the moms in our lives, whether it was one who raised us or someone who took on that role in our life in some way. Most of us don't give them enough credit or thanks for the sacrifices they made for us or the time they took to shape us into the person we have become.

As an adult, I can look back now and say, "Thanks, Mom, for plugging away day after day, for giving up so much of yourself, for not giving up when things seemed unbearable, for doing the best you could for your kids, and for loving each of us individually."

As the mother of four girls, I haven't heard those sincere words of thanks just yet. But I do get some pretty amusing and heartfelt gifts each Mother's Day. For now, I treasure those hand prints and notes. They are enough to keep this mom juggling.

Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every other week. Comments are welcome.


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