Raising Richmond: The joys of motherhood

In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to honor the mom who means the most to me right now. This mother’s name is…Me. I mean, Kelly. That’s my name.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to honor the mom who means the most to me right now. This mother’s name is…Me. I mean, Kelly. That’s my name. You probably expect some goofy/sarcastic take on being a mom and why I deserve to have brunch plates thrown at my head on Sunday (or whatever it is that we’re supposed to do with mothers), but instead here are some things that I truly love about being a mom.

The actual child

I know you don’t know her, but she’s amazing. She wears crazy outfits. She says adorable things. She has a British accent sometimes (her babysitter does, too). She calls me “mudder.” She is always singing. She will drop what she’s doing to find her cheap toy ukulele (her “ka-tar”) and serenade us. She loves pancakes. She’s basically a manic pixie dream girl or a human Gizmo from Gremlins. She’s passionate. She’s very sweet and almost always polite.

Sometimes I get things right

One thing I did right from the start and kept up with is saving money for my daughter. I have put money aside for her for every paycheck since she was born. It’s not so much her money as it is my money for her, so it’s paid for occasional things such as soccer classes and fees. It still builds up enough that I can make contributions to her 529 account (which one of her grandparents set up for her) and will eventually go towards even something as far away as her first car. I put away a small enough amount that I don’t miss it if funds are tight, but every six months or so when I need to pay for something big for her, I’ve had it available in that account. Good work, me!

She makes me so proud

I tell her when she does something right or makes me proud, and I have to do it so often that I don’t know if it registers to her.

Once she and I were out to lunch with my parents and sister, we got pieces of candy with the check. She took all the candy and passed it out to everyone on her own. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it was so sweet how she wanted to make sure everyone had some.

Another time, a neighbor had to drop off his daughter with us for about 20 minutes to handle an emergency, and his daughter (about two months younger than ours) cried when he left, but our kid just took over right away. She sat with her to tell her “It’s OK” and kept asking “What did you do today?” like we ask her. Eventually she made our neighbor girl laugh, and all was well.

She always says “Are you okay?” when someone says “Ow.”

At her second birthday party she greeted her guests by name. I credit this to her interest in looking at photo albums and learning everyone’s name that way, which was especially good for family she doesn’t see often.

She randomly lists all the people she loves (it ends up being all the names she know). She’s full of love.

I have it all

I work full-time (so I guess I parent part-time). I have a house to keep up with, a marriage to keep up with, a dog to walk, cats to remove from tables, family members to keep in touch with and visit, friends to see, gardens to tend to, meals to make, writing to do, books to read.

I don’t do it all. I am months behind on monthly entries to my girl’s baby book (just monthly letters to her). I have friends I only see because I run into them at Target. I am about four years behind my original timeline for completing the next draft of a novel I’m writing. How can I keep up with everything? It’s easy: I just choose not to worry about things sometimes.

There are weeks when I’ve seen my grandparents, hung out with friends without our kids, gotten the next few nights of dinners prepped, done personal writing, gone running several times, and spent some quality time with my husband and daughter. Then there are weeks when my biggest accomplishment is being up-to-date on New Girl, and that’s cool, too. If you can’t keep up, just change what’s up. It’s amazing to learn which things don’t really matter.

I have a great team

There are so many things I don’t have to worry about. My daughter has a network of people who love her, both family and friends. It means a lot that she’s comfortable with people other than her parents. I’m fortunate to not be alone in this. That’s not a luxury that lots of parents have.

I feel confident enough to give advice

It is:

  • Buy the good trash bags.
  • If your child is into TV and movie characters and wants all the stuff, instead of buying anything substantial, just get things like toothpaste and bubble bath. He/she will still get as excited if you had bought the sleeping bag, and it’s possible that the supply of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Band-Aids will last longer than your child’s interest in TMNT.
  • Sub-advice, buy Band-Aid brand bandages. The store-brand bandages don’t stay on.
  • It’s fine to not to send photo Christmas cards. They’re nice to get, but when you decide that it’s OK to skip making them, it almost immediately doesn’t matter that you didn’t do it.

— ∮∮∮ —

Happy Mother’s Day to you, if you qualify as a mom or mom-like figure in someone’s life, and to me. I would like to have a nap, followed by a dinner of fried chicken.

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Kelly Gerow

Kelly Gerow lives and writes in Richmond. She probably does other stuff in Richmond, too.

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