I will never forget the first time I wrote the word “mother” referring to myself. It was two days before I was scheduled to be induced to deliver my son -April 5th, 2011- and I had to fill out some paperwork at Baptist South Medical Center. The nurse highlighted with a marker the areas that I had to complete. One of the lines read ‘relationship to the patient’ referring to the unborn child. Right there, it struck me like a bolt of lighting and I said out loud “Oh… this is the first time I write this. I am a mom!“, the nurse giggled.
Looking back, my 29 hours of labor -which I though were bad at the time- will never equal to the amount of daily patience and physical stamina required to raise a child. I love the American saying “It takes a village to raise a child“; I would add “…and it takes Tequila to survive!“.
Please don’t think I am complaining. My son is the light of my life and I couldn’t take another breath without him in it, but trying to be the best mother I can be is the hardest challenge I have ever faced. I am always amazed at how this little human can squeeze every drop of strength out of my body without even throwing a punch. Here is an example.
Last Sunday, after I finished my morning routine of household duties, my son and I went to St Augustine -the oldest city in the United States- which is 25 minutes away from our house. Our first stop was at Davenport Park which has an old fashioned carousel built in 1927. He ran like the Tasmanian Devil for a while with kids of all ages until he started his ‘potty dance’. Later, we drove into Down Town and we passed the Castillo de San Marcos at least three times looking for parking. Hungry and already tired I thought we were going to eat but my little man changed his mind and asked me “Can we go to the fot?” (meaning fort). How could I say no?
After a 30 minute walk we arrived at the castle. Built between 1672 and 1695 this fortification is the oldest masonry fort in the continental USA. Why was this place appealing to a four year old boy? I didn’t know, but I just went with it. We walked inside one of the squares and immediately he headed for the roof and said “Let’s go see the canyons!” (meaning cannon). During our visit actors reenacted an encounter between the Spanish and the English armies back in the 18th Century and they even fired one of the cannon into the ocean. He was ecstatic! We finished the tour and waked back to the car. By a miracle we didn’t roll like dice on the pavement even though my son stepped on the back of my flip flops at least three times.
As I expected my little angel fell asleep on the car ride and continued his nap at our house for two more hours. When he got up after 5:30 p.m. he was rested and ready for another marathon. Thank God my neighbor and her kids were playing in the cul-de-sac so we joined them for a soccer match, mud battle, and water spraying. Three hours of continuous playtime later I dragged him into the house in tears because he wanted to stay playing. I gave him a shower, fed him, brushed his teeth, read him at least three books, and finally he took a trip to dreamland.
At the end of the day every muscle, bone, and joint ached. As my husband was in Tennessee for business, darn him!- all I could think about was how do single moms do it alone? Heck, how did my mother do it? The lesson this week didn’t come from my two men or my two dogs. It came from all the great mothers that have crossed my path -one way or another- teaching me the art of being a mother; my mom, my grandmother, my aunts, my late mother in law, my sisters in law, my cousins in law, and my best girlfriends.
A mother’s job is simply overwhelming in every aspect, but it is also the easiest because it is like breathing; we don’t have to think to do it. I believe a mother’s love is the craftsmanship carved from the soul of a woman at the rhythm of her heartbeat.
Thus, how much is a mom’s job worth? Yesterday on my way home I listened to Fox News Sirius XM and they mentioned Salary.com, a website that for 14 years has been crunching numbers to answer this inquiry. The last data from the 2014 survey stated that for a stay-at-home mom the national average of compensation was $118,905 (40 hours plus 56.5 hours of overtime of childcare and household duties) and for a working-mom the amount was $70,107 (59.4 hours per week). Now, based on these figures, my husband and my son owe me over $153,000 because I stay at home and work part time at our insurance agency Zellner. In the mean time, while I collect my money, I already booked a quiet and alone spa day at the Sawgrass Marriot at Ponte Vedra Beach.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Thanks for reading and sharing.