Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

What It Feels Like to Be a Mom

Being a mom feels like promise. Of do-overs for childhood slights and a chance to right the injustice of times you were misunderstood in your own youth. This tiny human holds your smile above all else. When you see him – really see him – you are sun on his face. And that’s when you’re truly seen, too. It’s when the sun shines on yours.

Being a mom also feels like worry and letting go and grieving the passing of mundane and spectacular moments as they’re not yet over.

It’s tired and tiring and repetitive. It’s trying to keep Lego sets together with specific instructions once they’ve been built, partially disassembled, and mixed with bricks from another set. It feels impossible, random, and occasionally boring.

what it feels like to be a mom his fingers wrapped around yoursIt feels like wonder as you marvel over the miracle of nature and translucent fingernails on a tiny hand curled around your finger.

Sometimes, being a mom feels like you’ve lost yourself.

Sometimes, being a mom feels like you’ve met your better self.

Being a mom means that when he’s tiny, you’re the only person in the world who knows what he needs to soothe himself back to sleep.

Sadly and wondrously, what he needs is usually your boob.

Being a mom means that one night, you crawl into bed with a kink in your neck after falling asleep breastfeeding him in the chair.

You turn, flip your pillow to the cool side, and he’s now five-years-old.

He’s five, and standing next to you. There’s no time to wonder where the crib went. You notice the pillow is still cool from when you flipped it over a minute ago. Four years ago. 

“A bee in my room,” he says. “Need you.”

Being a mom means going to his room at 3am, capturing an invisible bee, opening the window, and setting it free.

You lie down next to the baby whose legs now reach your knees and tell yourself to remember this.

It’s remembering the book The Little Prince and that a drawing that looks like a hat is actually a boa constrictor who swallowed an elephant. It means looking for the proverbial eye of the snake in your son’s drawings.

Credit: photo of the book The Little Prince

You study barbarian pencil sketches and marvel over the drawn details of chest plates. You know that barbaerwein is barbarian. That his weapons are fierce and those of your son’s powerful ancestors made of Vikings and nomads and far-away tribes. That his name is, too

what it feels like to be a mom looking at his barbarian drawing

Being a mom also means saying “I’m sorry, but no, I can’t battle with you right now,” and feeling like you’re not enough. It’s also laughing in the dark

Sometimes, it feels like you don’t know what you’re doing.

“Is he sleeping enough?”

You worry more about his sleep than yours, for a while. But maybe, on Mother’s Day, if what you need is sleep, or to just be alone, you might ask for it

It means that 90 minutes is a lifetime. 

Being a mom means you know the look on his face when he’s been caught doing something he’s not supposed to be doing. You know his looks of worry, of shyness, of excitement.

You know the glint of mischief and penis jokes.

Being a mom means that for now at least, you know him best. And somehow, you know yourself better, too, even as you sigh over packing a lunch while swallowing annoyance that he hasn’t yet brushed his teeth even though you told him to 1,001 times in the last five minutes.

It means crying in the hallway at school when his speech therapist says “go show your mom,” and he sounds out a letter you never thought you’d hear.

It means bribery and lying when he asks you for something you gave away because he hasn’t played with it in two years but suddenly wants it after the donation truck came two days ago.

It means believing in afterlife, even though you’re not really sure at all, because not believing is like falling off a cliff and never landing.

It’s saying “It’s time to sleep” while barely hanging on to sanity with white knuckles and the kind of annoyance that threatens sanity.

It’s whispering “Good Night” while feeling love so light and so heavy that you’re lifted up while falling through generations.

It’s thanking and reeling of the randomness of YourChild. Of the exact combination of DNA, stardust, hope, and ancestors that made your son. It’s feeling that he’s of you and of something undiscovered and beyond imagination.

what it feels like to be a mom (happy motherBeing a mom feels like holding a rising star.

***

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mamas out there, to all of the papas and grandparents and fosters and everybody else who love and raise the people of our future. May your day be full of unexpected greatness, wonder, and the smile of a child, whether he’s a baby, a parent, neither, or somewhere between.

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence, in honor of our upcoming Mother’s Day in the US is “Oh, Mother…”

Your co-host (and this week’s sentence prompter) is Lisa from The Meaning of Me. She’s amazing.

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  • Lisa @TheGoldenSpoons - Absolutely beautiful!!May 12, 2017 – 11:13 amReplyCancel

  • Debi - This: “It’s whispering ‘Good Night’ while feeling love so light and so heavy that you’re lifted up while falling through generations.”

    That’s exactly what it’s like. Thank you for this beautiful line!!! (and the whole post!)May 12, 2017 – 1:54 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you, Debi. It really is what it feels like. Happy Mother’s Day to you! I hope you have a great weekend!May 12, 2017 – 4:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Just J - You’ve got this mother thing nailed down so well, this is exactly what it is, all of this… and then one day they are grown up and you look at them in total awe, wondering how you created something so amazing, and how they grew up so fast when it seems like only yesterday they were so small.May 12, 2017 – 2:58 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks for the sweet comment. I look at Tucker in awe all the time, wondering how he’s possible. How he’s so amazing. Happy Mother’s Day!!May 12, 2017 – 4:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I just loved this…so many great thoughts, but this one is sticking with me today, probably because I’m two weeks away from watching Big Dude graduate high school: “You turn, flip your pillow to the cool side, and he’s now five-years-old.” Except with me, I flipped my pillow and now he’s 19…Have a very happy mother’s day Kristi!!May 12, 2017 – 5:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Emily! I hope you have a really happy Mother’s Day too and again, huge congratulations to Big Dude and your whole family. It really does go by so quickly (except on the days when it really doesn’t) 😀May 12, 2017 – 7:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly L McKenzie - And just when you’re feeling a little bit sad about the probability that they don’t need you anymore as they’re away at college and in 4th year or they’re teaching English in Spain and poof, you get a text from one asking for your cake recipe and a photo of a hand covered in hives from the other …

    The Happiest of Mother’s Days to you, Kristi!May 12, 2017 – 11:15 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw Kelly! I love the reminder that your kids are older than mine is and asking for your cake recipe, and what to do about hives. That’s really what it is, I guess, overall, right? And Happy Mother’s Day to you my friend!!!May 12, 2017 – 11:38 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - And Happy Mother’s Day to your mom! I hope she wears her purple pants!!!May 12, 2017 – 11:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - I knew this would be beautiful and I was right. I love how you can always put into words exactly what I don’t quite know I think or feel until I see it and then I think, “yesssss! exactly!” You are an awesome mom and an awesome person and I’m so glad to know you! xo Happy Mother’s Day!May 13, 2017 – 9:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You’re too kind, Lisa and thank you so much for your sweet words. I think YOU are an awesome mom and an awesome person and am so glad we’re friends. Thank you for the prompt this week – it didn’t occur to me to write about moms until you said that in our FB group! DOH!!! I’d had another prompt planned but was so glad about this one and love what you wrote and Happy Mother’s Day!!!May 13, 2017 – 11:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I love everything this post covers Kristi. The pillow turning over thing was an unexpectedly perfect way to explain what it’s like.

    I am glad I could come up with something for the prompt this week in particular. It seems to be a popular topic, as all the entries in the link up this week shows.

    I have read some and was already moved beyond description by what I read.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you.May 13, 2017 – 11:55 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you Kerry! The pillow turning over thing is real, but it’s also real that when kids are young (at least for me), there were days when it was 11am and I couldn’t imagine getting through the next eight hours. We’d already been to the playground, twice, had breakfast, a nap, and read stories. It was endless and now I miss it. So there’s that 🙂
      I’m heading to read yours now… so glad you linked up, as I always am!May 14, 2017 – 12:00 amReplyCancel

  • Moonmoon Chowdhury - Hi Kristi! So much feelings in each word . Loved your beautiful summary of what it is to be a mother . Really liked the part where you talk about the mother and child being each other’s sunshine. And the lovely drawing “barbaerwein” .❤️ Very cute .
    A very Happy mother ‘s day to you too .May 14, 2017 – 1:37 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - ***Sometimes, being a mom feels like you’ve lost yourself.

    Sometimes, being a mom feels like you’ve met your better self***

    There are always profound, insightful, beautiful words that come forth when you speak)))

    xxx
    appreciation from MN.May 15, 2017 – 9:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Linda Atwell - You always write your thoughts beautifully. This is another piece that will stay with me for days and days. Although I loved so many lines in this piece, I especially loved: It’s thanking and reeling of the randomness of YourChild. Of the exact combination of DNA, stardust, hope, and ancestors that made your son. It’s feeling that he’s of you and of something undiscovered and beyond imagination.

    I’ve always thought that any of our spirits could have been born anywhere, to any parents. The randomness is such a perfect word for my thoughts. Tucker is so lucky you are his mom.

    🙂May 19, 2017 – 1:43 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thank you, Linda! You’re so kind! And Lindsey is so lucky you’re her mom. The randomness really is something, isn’t it? Thinking about it all is mind-blowing. xoMay 19, 2017 – 9:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Yvonne Wright - I love your blog and all the love you bring…helping to raise Autism Awareness… I too am a mother…Kylah was diagnosed at the age of 5 she did not speak…I walked away from a government job of 12 years…I know I needed to protect her..I became her voice…I was very active in Kylah’s school…I wanted to meet and develop a good relationship with the people who were going to be involved in Kylah’s life on a daily basis…Kylah is now 20…and will often say to me…Mommy get out of my room…MUSIC to my ears…she is expressing herself daily and soaring like a eagle…Thank-you for all that you do for the Autistic Community…WE appreciate you. I also am starting a organization to help raise Autism Awareness and Acceptance.June 2, 2017 – 12:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you Yvonne! How wonderful that Kylah now tells you to get out of her room – I know what you mean about their voices being music to our ears!!! I’d love to learn more about your organization!June 2, 2017 – 7:48 pmReplyCancel

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