Despite the 10-month and a few days too long pregnancy, the two-day labor, four-day hospital stay, and four digit hospital bill, I didn’t really feel like a mommy for the first few months of my daughter’s life. Uncertain as to what being a mommy actually felt like, I just knew without a doubt that I wasn’t feeling “it” even as I celebrated a beautiful Mother’s Day just a few short weeks after the birth of my beautiful baby girl.
Now fast forward two-and-a-half years later, and I’ll tell you that I physically, mentally, financially, and otherwise feel every bit like a mommy. I’ve got both tangible and intangible proof that I am indeed a mommy. Even when I’m not mothering, which in reality I don’t think I am ever not mothering; so let me rephrase, even when my little one is not physically in my presence, I still feel like a mommy. Thanks to my membership to motherhood I now understand, and usually more willingly accept, my mother’s – the best Momie ever! – unsolicited advice and protection although I’m on the verge of being dirty-thirty. A mother’s job is never done.
So, after just tucking my little one in for the third time after a couple of episodes of vomiting at an insane time of the morning I present to you How You Know You’re A Mommy…
- When you get up in the middle of the night to change and wash dirty linen bathed in your child’s bodily fluids. Gross, but we do it.
- When you muster up enough strength to lift a toddler mid-air so as that precious bottom doesn’t touch the seat of a public commode.
- When you pick boogies out of a nose that is more crusty than the lips of Dave Chappelle’s character Tyrone Biggums. Now that is some kind of crusty!
- When you’d risk being mistaken for a hobo or crazy person after having a night/early morning like I’ve just experienced, but still make sure that your child(ren) is clean, pristine, and ready for a close up.
- When you give them the last of your food because they claim to still be hungry although they’ve eaten an entire kids meal.
- When your heart melts after they hug you and affectionately dub you “Mommy” even though you just disciplined them 2 minutes earlier for misbehaving.
- When you don’t make any plans for your future before thinking of them first and how they’d be impacted by your decision(s).
- When you work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life just to provide stability and security that they can rely on.
- When you allow them to lay in bed with you even though you just want to sprawl out across the bed without concern of waking up to a tiny toe in your nostril.
- When you protect your child(ren) with a level of ferocity that even you didn’t know you possessed.
- When you can easily wake from your slumber at the faintest sound of their discomfort.
- When your child inspires greatness in you and leads you to strive to be a better woman, parent, and partner so that your child has a role model whose behavior he/she can emulate.
My family isn’t one to really use the word “tradition” to reference our holiday celebrations, but on each holiday the expected ritual is that we all gather at my grandmother’s house for gift exchanges, my grandmother’s soul food, and my aunts baked from scratch cakes. We spend the evening playing a game of Scattergories where my Aunt Dorothy will inevitable cheat and have all of her answers ignored and thereby be declared the loser before the game ever begins, followed by the family sitting (some standing as we are a very large family) watching terrible homemade movies that always, always, always ends in laughter. The older I get the more I am reminded of how my childhood growing up in San Francisco was abundantly rich filled with “traditions” and unwavering relationships.
As my little one is growing up right before my eyes I ask myself this holiday season, what traditions will we create as a family? What will my little one say of her childhood; how will she complete the sentence, “We always did _____ for the holidays? The only way to foster traditions are to first create them. This year we’ll continue with the traditions that started when I was a graduate student dating my hubby, then boyfriend, along with the traditions that came about with the birth of our baby girl, and start new traditions that one day my daughter will say, “As a child we always…”
- Fixed Thanksgiving dinner so that we’d have leftovers cooked in our own kitchen.
- Wore festive pajamas for major holidays.
- Unwrapped 25 books – some handpicked by me at the library, some store-bought. Mommy would wrap each book and place it under the Christmas tree for me to unwrap each night beginning on December 1st leading up to Christmas day.
- Listened to Bob Marley, a CD Mommy and Daddy coined “our Christmas music,” while decorating the Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving.
- Exchanged Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve.
- Scoured the “Black Friday” ads and got a head start shopping on the morning of Thanksgiving.
- Watched Christmas movie classics while sprawled out on the sofa under the handmade quilt “Created with Grandmother’s Love.”
- Drank hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and a peppermint stick.
- Mailed Christmas cards to my family and friends.
- Read the story of Jesus’ birth.
- Stayed up late on New Year’s Eve dancing, flipping the channels between New York’s Time Square ball drop and Nick Jr’s countdown, eating hors d’oeuvre’s and sipping sparkling apple cider from a plastic champagne flute…fancy!
- Using my acting chops in the church’s annual Christmas program.
- Ice skating, or more aptly, falling on the ice, with Mommy and Daddy.
- Had a never ending playlist of holiday music.
Follow me on Pinterest for holiday tradition ideas. What traditions will you uphold or create this year?