Humility, Thy Name is Mother

Whatever pride or dignity I thought I possessed as a young whipper-snapper came spilling out of my body along with the child when I lay helpless in the hospital answering to the name of Mother for the first time, midwifes and nurses, grabbing, pulling and touching me in ways that I would have previously found appalling.

Over the past 6 years I’ve periodically made attempts to regain some of my lost pride but it’s hard when you live with people who can’t BELIEVE there’s not a baby in your tummy because it’s SO big, who use you as a human tissue, and who pray to Heavenly Father that he will help them please be on time for school tomorrow. Laylee knows I’ve shown myself incapable of regular punctuality so she likes to call for backup.

This morning on the way to school, I noticed I hadn’t even run a comb through her hair. This is absolutely unacceptable in my opinion, especially since she gets to pick her own clothes. I need the teacher to see one sign that she is not being physically neglected at home. So I pulled over to the side of the road and tried to do a quick fix with the only tools I had, a comb and a bobby pin. Without tangle spray or local anesthetic it’s nearly impossible to straighten Laylee’s bird’s nest without shrieks of agony so I “smoothed it over,” told her I’d done the best I could but it wasn’t great and got back into the drivers’ seat of the car.

“It’s okay,” Laylee replied. “Being on time is way more important than just looking nice anyway.” As she said this, I wondered if she was as aware as I was of my unshowered, unbrushed hair or the near-pajamas I was wearing. I could have been the poster child for “Looking Nice Isn’t That Important Anyway.” Then there was the reminder that being on time was more crucial than looks and that I’d let her down so many times in the past.

Kids will let you know what they think of you. Frequently their words are filled with love and often with that love comes brutally honest assessments of your worst traits, your biggest insecurities. Even their criticisms usually aren’t malicious at this age. They just stem from curiosity, fascination or just plain lack of social skills but they can still hurt or at least bump your pride down a notch.

Lately the kids have been using “humor” to share how they see the world, their favorite being the knock-knock joke that’s really a why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-road joke in disguise.

Both of these gems came up at dinner last night to much raucous laughter.

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Why did the mommy cross the road?
I don’t know. Why?
To go shopping.

Knock knock
Who’s there?
Why did the mommy cross the road?
I don’t know. Why?
To pick up her prescription

Nice. So this “mom” person is a materialistic shopaholic who NEEDS HER MEDS? I see why that’s funny. Almost.

Then driving to school yesterday, Magoo pointed out the window at a woman walking along the sidewalk and asked, “Mom? What name is that lady?”

“I’m not sure,” I replied.

“Oh. Oops,” he said. “That’s no lady. She’s just a MOM!”

AAAHHHHH! And yet. I love this job so much it hurts sometimes. What would I do without these kids? Besides be more of a “lady,” that is?

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19 Responses to Humility, Thy Name is Mother

  1. Faith says:

    I think my day for this sort of “humor” is coming soon. Should I start the meds now 😉 It sounds like your kiddos have their mommy’s sense of humor! Too funny!

  2. Paige says:

    Oh, the truth hurts.

  3. Becky says:

    Hey – I’m just impressed you had a comb and a bobby pin!

  4. Pam in Utah says:

    Actually I think you could turn those jokes into reader’s digest and get them published and get some money for them! I think they are REALLY funny! Oh, the sense of humor they have! And you! And they are soooo cute! And child-like. 🙂

  5. Meredith says:

    I laughed, I cried.

    Thank you for making a horrible morning a little less so.

    I think you can make your fortune with that topical anesthetic/detangler spray. I’d buy it.

  6. Emily says:

    I needed you this morning. My daughter has taken to repeating my husband, “Mom relax!” Guess what my weakness is?

  7. bananas says:

    “That’s not a lady it’s just a mom”
    oh how I love that child!

  8. mamadeb says:

    I’m not a lady either.

  9. Janel says:

    Once again, you have captured, with your usual great humor, the dilemma of motherhood–loving kids so much even if (when) they say very tactless things!

  10. Some of my favorite moments are of the “Out of the Mouths of Babes” variety.

    Which I only find funny with a few months separation…

  11. grammyelin says:

    They learn tact (social skills) over time, but our kids somehow seem to hit our most vulnerable spots at any age. I have really enjoyed watching my kids perspectives (and personal critiques of me) change as they have all become parents. Just give it time and they will realize how truly wonderful you are in every aspect!

  12. TJ Hirst says:

    So cleverly true. Enough said from me.

  13. jennifer says:

    the way they see the world and what comes out of their mouths to share is truly amazing huh?

    Great post 🙂

  14. Heather says:

    Great post. Kind of brutal. Way true.


  15. Shalee says:

    I think that this is part of what Jesus meant when he told us that we have to be like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. We have to be honest, perceptive and say things that make others either smile or think more deeply.

    My kids make me fluctuate between the smiling and thinking deeply quite often. Sometimes they make me angry too, but that’s a whole other post.

  16. I’m never on time AND I never look nice. Dang it!

  17. Oh dear, those were some brutal ones! I’m actually pretty dang good–in my opinion–at getting people to their places on time–but that doesn’t prevent the kids from sometimes treating me like I’m a total irresponsible loser. I guess it is frustrating to them to be totally at my mercy. (and vice versa!)

  18. Dan says:

    With a mom like you around, who needs ladies? 😀

  19. Wendy says:

    Love the part about you being a shopaholic who needs her meds! Made me laugh out loud!!

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