As a new mom, I find myself dreading the day that my daughter suddenly doesn’t need me anymore. I know it will come, as that’s ultimately the point of parenthood, and of course I will be proud of her to be on her own. I certainly once thought I didn’t need my mom anymore, and I was probably too cavalier in the way I let her know. But as I’ve started my own journey of parenthood, I’ve come to realize that even if I don’t need my mom, she still matters a tremendous amount in my life.
My mom truly cares how I’m doing.
How many times each day are you asked, “How are you?” Probably more than you can count. And how many times does the person asking the question really want to find out the answer? Probably less than you’d care to know. My mom, on the other hand, truly cares to know about my day. We have daily chats on the phone during which she rejoices in my successes, feels pain over my sorrows, and helps me troubleshoot my challenges. The empathy of a mother cannot be matched.
My mom knows the real me.
My mom knows the person I am and always have been. She can tell just by a look on my face or the sound of my voice how I’m feeling. She knows what I really mean to say, even when I don’t express it. She understands why I say or do certain things, what aspects of my personality are inborn, and perhaps most importantly, how I’ve grown. The best part is that despite all this knowledge of the real me, she loves me anyway. In a world that sometimes seems to require me to be anything but myself, the permission to be authentic with my mom keeps me grounded.
My mom never expects anything in return.
My mom is the definition of generosity. She has taught me that parents are meant to give without expecting anything in return, and she does – from tangible ways like sending new clothes “just because” or picking up the dinner tab, to intangible ways like uncomplainingly getting up in the middle of the night with my baby while visiting. It’s not out of a desire for recognition or a sense of obligation. It’s because her life’s mission is to give me what I need – even while I’m in my late twenties with a husband and child of my own. That selfless giving is a model of unconditional love I aspire to imitate.
My mom has experience she wants to share.
When my baby was born, my mom was with me for the first week that followed. She was a wealth of knowledge and guided me through duties of parenting about which I had no clue. My lack of experience as a parent is evident when I’m around my mom. It isn’t that she’s condescending or overbearing, but even the way she handles my baby with such familiarity reminds me she has been a parent for 27 years longer than I have, and she naturally has gained a lot of wisdom as a result. That wisdom in and of itself is valuable, but her desire to share it with me in order to help me succeed as a parent is invaluable.
Having a child of my own makes me appreciate what my mom did for me.
As I go through each new experience with my daughter, I can’t help but think, “My mom did this for me.” She got up for the eighth time at night to comfort me. She cared for me when I was sick. She bought me what I needed, snuggled me to sleep at night, stared lovingly into my eyes, made me giggle over and over again, and provided all kinds of enriching life experiences for me. I was her world, just like my daughter is mine. It also puts into perspective those many times during my life when she has said, “You’ll understand when you have kids of your own one day.”
When I look at it this way, I can’t help but wonder how I could have ever treated my mom with disdain, disrespect, or disinterest. Of course my mom still matters. It makes me wonder how I could have ever thought otherwise. And what will get me through those difficult years when my daughter thinks I don’t matter is the hope that one day she will realize… I do.
More from this mom:
My Top 5 Cloth Diaper Rookie Mistakes
How I Battled and Beat the Baby Blues
Mom of an Infant: 8 Simple Victories that Make My Day