Mother's Day, Motherhood

To All the Mamas…

swan mama by roberto fontana on flickr


To all the Mamas who are struggling:

It’s OK.


It’s OK – this job’s a tough one

We don’t get sick leave, pay, or breaks

It’s harder than it looks

But you’ve got just what it takes


Keep on loving, keep on learning

And slowly, over years,

You will reap the benefits

Of those worries, stress and tears


It’s OK, your kids do love you

They don’t expect perfection

Don’t worry that your small mistakes

Will lead to big rejection


One day your kids will be grown up

They’ll know you as a mother

Who mended hurts and broken hearts

And loved them like no other.



To all the Mamas who could have been, would have been, should have been – but didn’t get to be Mamas:

I’m sorry.


I’m sorry I take things for granted

And say motherhood’s a chore

For feeling like it’s not enough –

That sometimes I want more


I’m sorry for complaining

About my lot in life

When you would gladly fill it

So my words cut like a knife


I’m sorry for your empty arms

When mine are overflowing

For talking of the trials and joys

And all that I’ve got going


Don’t underestimate your value

Maternal roles you’re playing

In showing love and wisdom

In kind things that you’re saying.



To all the Mamas who’ve got it together and make motherhood look easy-peasy:

You’re welcome.


You’re welcome that I set low the bar

For championing ‘mediocre’

For saying ‘let’s just laugh it off –

It’s good to be a joker’


For helping you to realize

Perfection’s not a goal

It’s how we live and love and laugh

That makes our families whole


You’re welcome to see me struggle

To see that it’s still tough

Even when you know there’s no ‘ideal’

And good is good enough.



To all the Mamas who’ve inspired me, taught me, and encouraged me:

Thank you.


Thank you for the words

That you didn’t have to say

Thank you for supporting me

And taking time to pray


Thank you that you love my kids

And show us how you care

Thank you for your good advice

And for just ‘being there’


You’ve taught me how to never quit

To look up through the pain

To keep my eyes fixed heavenward

And laugh to keep me sane


You’ve shown me how to be a friend

To love and care for others

To lift and to encourage

The ones called to be mothers.


Life, Mother's Day, Motherhood

Where Are My Socks?

odd socks by eren [sea+prairie] on flickr


As we approach Mother’s Day, it would be fitting to examine the question of ‘What Is a Mother, and How Does Her Observance of That Role Shape Her Family?’.

It would be fitting, but that’s not what I’m going to write about.

Because there are plenty of things that a ‘Mother’ is, that I am not.  Plenty of things that I should observe, but don’t.  And plenty of aspects of this role that, quite frankly, I’m rubbish at.

Let’s instead turn to some of the deeper questions that a life of devotion (a.k.a. parenthood) demands.  Of these questions, one stands out above the rest (at least in my mind).  It is an ageless question; a question asked often, relentlessly, demandingly – and some would say that a satisfactory answer to it doesn’t exist.  It is a question that has mystified mothers for generations.  I can imagine one of my sons getting up to deliver an address by my graveside sometime in the future, speaking into the void:
“Mum was always there, because she didn’t work.  She was dependable, like an old car.  She was solid, like a brick wall.  She lived a life, but now it’s over.  And although she has passed, one question remains [he turns to the coffin]:

Mum – where are my socks?

This question, asked so often in my home, is a daily reminder to me of my ineptitude as a housewife.  West works hard in his little cramped basement office to provide for our every material need, and all that is required of me is that I keep the children fed and clothed – and I can’t even manage to provide everyone with clean socks on a daily basis.

In my defence, I do wash loads and loads of laundry – and everyone does have access to other clean clothes every day; but somehow, impossibly (it seems to me), there never seem to be any socks.

A month ago, determined to address this very issue, I purchased seventeen bulk pairs of socks for my older three boys.  I also bought netting wash bags for each of them and used an indelible black pen to label the bags with their names.  I instructed my boys that they were to put their dirty socks directly into the netting bag each night, and I would take the bag (with the socks inside) for washing a couple of times a week. It was a brilliant plan (*ahem*) and one that could not possibly fail.

It failed.

I am currently missing eighteen pairs of socks and three wash bags.

Adding to the mystery of the black hole that exists somewhere between the dirty-clothes hamper and the clean-laundry baskets is the mountain of odd socks (it was this compilation of mismatched singletons that prompted me to buy the new socks in just black and white).  I laid them out the other day to see if I could pair any up, and just for kicks I counted them.  There were eighty-four single socks in various sizes, from newborn to men’s size ten.

It would be fair to say that, like the apostle Paul, I have ‘a thorn in my side’.  And in my case, that ‘thorn in my side’ is housework.

It’s not necessarily doing the cooking or cleaning the toilets that gets to me – although, again like Paul, “three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me”…   Cleaning things can actually be quite satisfying, and occasionally even therapeutic.  But those jobs that are so quickly and thoroughly undone – those I find utterly demoralising.  And what could be more demoralising than to wash the mud-stains out of umpteen pairs of socks and then have those socks disappear as completely as the dirt itself?

When I’m feeling particularly neurotic and prone to hyperbole, I complain that ‘this mess will be the end of me!’ – and if I’m ever right about that, at the gravesite you’ll find four boys and a Dad in mismatched hosiery, and a tombstone with an epitaph that reads:


Our Socks




Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday, everyone!  Hope you enjoy a laundry-free day.  Here’s wishing you special moments with your kids, and quality time without them as well.



PS  Have you seen my socks?