Being a mom is one of the world’s greatest joys, but it’s also hands-down the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Can you relate? You start doing things you promised you’d never do as a mom, you are making facial expressions you swore you would never make and the barrage of sayings you could not fathom coming out of your mouth are tumbling out uncontrollably. Could it be? Are you becoming your mother? Here are five ways to find out:
1. You call your children by a combination of all their names.
When I was growing up, my mom would get flustered determining whether it was me (Kelly) or my sister (Carol) who had neglected to clean up an explosion of glitter from the kitchen table or left her bike parked directly behind the car (again), she would simply hollar a frustrated combination of the two names: “Caarroellly!” My sister and I would laugh uncontrollably and promise we would never, ever, mix up the names of our children. Now I do it all the time. And I only have two. I can’t even imagine trying to get the name out in a moment of frustration with three or more to choose from.
2. Phrases like “Suit yourself” and “Told you so” are common in your daily dialogue with your kids.
When I was kid, I knew my mom was done when she would calmly say “suit yourself” and walk away. This phrase is a general giving up and letting that child know that whatever they are about to do is happening entirely on their own. There will be no support of this endeavor, nor any sympathy when said endeavor goes south. Want to wear your fleece-lined boots to school when it’s 91 degrees outside? Well, suit yourself. I have made outfit suggestions, provided you with the weather forecast, and have gone so far as to lay out three weather-appropriate choices across your bed. Follow “suit yourself” with “told you so” later in the day and you are well on your way to becoming your mother.
3. You have acquired eyes in the back of your head.
I remember wondering how my mom always knew what I was up to without actually looking at me. Moms truly have a special sixth since. Consider it your superpower. Also in this category is being able to sleep without actually sleeping. To this day I can call my mom at O’Dark Thrity and she will answer the phone like she’s been awake for hours in. I find that I do this with my kids now, too. Thunderstorm, stomach bug, bad dream – I’m on it. O’Dark Thirty or noon, it matters not.
4. You have a go-to comfort food you make for your child when they are sick, sad or stressed.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, because that is not what your child will remember. Whatever it is, it will remind them years from now that someone took the time to find out what would make them feel better and prepare it. My mom would make me toasted bologna sandwiches with mustard. I would eat them while tucked into the safety of her king-sized bed, watching The Price is Right. Absolutely delicious. For my kids it’s chocolate chip banana bread, as bologna would have them running for the nearest exit.
5. You will come running (or driving Mach 2) if you find out your child needs you, no matter where you are.
When I’m in a meeting and my phone rings, I can tell before I even look at the caller ID if it’s the school. I have abandoned countless meetings over the years, coworkers left staring at each other as I hightailed it out the door, papers trailing behind me. It’s a wonder I have held down a job as long as I have. Even if the people left in my wake are not moms, somehow I like to believe that they understand the healing power of a mom, and the necessity for her to be there when that call comes in.
Moms are special people who do big things and small things that impact their families. Sometimes it’s the small things that make us smile the most. Like mother, like daughter? I can only hope.