My mom started working when I was in elementary school. Before then she was a stay-at-home mom of seven.
In the mornings she and I rode the city bus to the French Quarter where I went to school at a little red school house. We would stop at a store for a morning glory muffin on the way.
It would take me less than two blocks to eat it in its entirety before I was at school and my mom was off to work. She caught a bus and a streetcar to get to her job. For two hours she traveled from one part of town and back. Then her day shifted from mom to professional. I remember thinking about how good she was at both. Everyone at her job loved her as much as her children did.
As I got older, I wanted to know more about my mother. I inquired about how she became the woman she is and how she could manage parenting so many children. Her answers were always simple and left me wanting more.
“I did it because it had to be done,” my mom would say.
It didn’t seem that easy to me. I needed to do my homework, but it didn’t always get done. My room needed to be clean yet was mostly a mess.
My mother was a woman of few words. Although we were close, she often gave advice without explanation. But I knew she wouldn’t steer me wrong so I’d listen with hopes that eventually I would figure out the reason.
I became a mother at 27. It was unexpected yet I embraced my pregnancy. I wasn’t excited, I wasn’t scared, I was just going to have a baby.
My journey to motherhood wasn’t easy or conventional. It took me through many uncomfortable paths and I did not enjoy the process.
Childbirth was a mother! I couldn’t understand how any woman did that more than once. And newborns? Nah. Almost 6 years later, I am still tired from that stage.
I loved my child from the moment I knew he existed. Baby snuggles and bonding with him, in the beginning, are some of my favorite memories. But that did not make parenting any easier.
Yet, still, I did it every day through the tears and the uncertainty of whether I was doing it right. The voice of my mom plays in my head whenever I feel overwhelmed.
“I did it because it had to be done.”
I see so much of my mom in myself. I’m proud that I can be the kind of mom she was even though my circumstances are much different.
I think that’s what parenthood is about from one generation to the next. When you’re a child you’re like a sponge taking it all in. You’re taking notes on what to do or what not to do. Then when you become a parent yourself you’re making a conscious effort to be like or unlike the parents you had.
However, in today’s society, we have something greater than our parents ever had. The internet! We have resources at our fingertips to help us through the struggles of being a parent.
My hope is that through online support groups and blogs such as This Mama Wines, we learn from and support one another as moms. So we can say to each other, “I see you doing what you do as a mom because you have to. And I know that is really hard, but I’m here to help you if you need it.”
What do you want to say to a mama who is doing what has to be done?
This guest post was written by Khayriyyah, a contributor for This Mama Wines. Khayriyyah is co-owner of New Orleans Doulas and proud mom of one. Giving birth was a pivotal moment in her life that led her to supporting other growing families in her native city of New Orleans. Her personal motto is “Chasing happiness and my kid one day at a time!” You can follower her on Instagram: @neworleansdoulas and @dohappystuff.