The other day I was having a career identity crisis. Fun times, let me tell you. My stomach felt like there was a swirling tornado in it. I decided to chat with some friends and my husband about it, but I was still feeling kind of teenage angsty inside. So, I did what all smart women do — I called my mom. And she immediately helped me feel better.
"Angela," she said, "Follow your gut. It's taken you this far already."
"I know, Mom," I said. "It's just that I know I won't make a ton of money."
"You've never cared about that. Do what your heart is telling you," she urged.
With those words, my stress practically evaporated. Mothers have a knack for doing that, even when their children are approaching 40. My mom has always been my go-to person. As mothers often do, she just gets me and has a special way of not only helping me with major life decisions, but also providing comfort. A few months ago, my small daughter and I were in a major car accident. Physically, we were fine. But I suffered some short-term trauma. I had trouble falling asleep, and when I did, nightmares woke me. After everyone left from the accident scene and I talked with the police officers, I sat in the driver's seat and dialed my mother first. Even before my husband.
As soon as she picked up the phone, tears slipped down my cheeks. Panic took over me and my hands trembled gripping the steering wheel. I didn't want to drive again. Instead, I wanted to just be with my mom. Yes, at age 38, I just wanted her to cradle me, to tell me that everything was going to be okay. But with my daughter in the backseat, and knowing I had to pick my son up from school, I knew I had to drive again. My mother encouraged me, as mothers do.
"You can do this," she said. "Take deep breaths and just look straight ahead."
With her reassurance, I did it. I remembered that I was now the mother who had to be there for my children. If I seemed anxious and worried from the accident, my children would feel that. And I want to provide a sense of calm, just like my own mother still provides me.
To our children, as their mothers, we're not only wise, but we're their number one person.
It's a reminder to me that you never stop being a mother — even if you're 70, like my own mom. Yes, right now, I'm in the thick of it (and you probably are, too). Whether your children are in the baby phase, teenage phase, or somewhere in between, we're still busy raising them. Days are hard. And months fly by. Each phase provides immense joy and immense heartbreak in the same breath. But know that you're doing it right, no matter how you choose to mother. Sure, the day will come when our children will be off on their own. They'll leave for college or a new job and apartment. We'll think our job is done, but just because our nests are empty, that doesn't mean that we'll feel empty — because we raised our kids with love.
We gave our kids the most love that we possibly could. We guided them through all of their trials. We survived the teenage years with grace. Our tenacious devotion got our kids through all of it. And you know what? They'll keep calling us, just when we think they have all of the answers. Our children will call on us with the big and little things in life — like for our spaghetti sauce recipes or romantic advice. To our children, as their mothers, we're not only wise, but we're their number one person. The person who brings them the greatest peace of all. Even when they're all grown up.