Mother’s Day: She’s Human, Too.

 

Words by Mallory Pace

 

As a child, I saw my parents as just that — parents. Not as 30- or 40-something-year-old human beings. They’re my parents. They make sure I have clothes, food, shelter, an education and love. They know everything — all of life’s secrets, what to do in every situation, how to make money, do taxes, raise a child, be independent, even math. Why wouldn’t they? They’re parents and are like so much older than me, so of course they know right from wrong, good from bad, yes from no. Right? Especially my mom, she had two kids, obviously she has been there, done that, seen it all. She’s not scared of anything or has any regrets. Right? When you’re a child, you see your mom as a super-human, as someone who has it all figured out; it’s hard to see her as a real, living person until you’re a little older. When you’re old enough to make regretful decisions and/or life changing ones and can confide in your mother on a human level, you start to really see her. 

 

Each May we celebrate Mother’s Day, a time for giving your mom a little extra love and attention, maybe a new robe or purse and definitely a break. Sometimes it’s overlooked or brushed past, sometimes it’s full of celebrating and being celebrated. Sometimes it’s one of the hardest days of the year, filled with grief, mourning and remembering. We all have a mother, whether she’s near or far, and we all have something to thank her for: life. If you’re a mother yourself, this one’s for you and all that you do, seen and unseen. You truly are the world’s heroes. 

 

Growing up is realizing your mom is human, too. She’s your mother who birthed you and punished you when you were bad as a kid, yes. But she’s more than a mom; she’s a living, breathing, feeling person who is going through life for the first time, just like you. Before she was your mom, she had a whole life. She was a child, then a hormonal teenager, a student, then a young adult. She was a free-thinker, an intern, a boss, a rebel, a lover, a wife. Then a mom. But as a kid, you mostly just think of her as much, someone who’s there when you get home, there when you wake up and every minute in between. She’s nurturing, caring, kind and beautiful. When you’re a teenager, she’s strict, harsh, and, of course, has no idea what you’re going through. But when you’re an adult, you realize she actually knows exactly what you’ve been through — and what you will — because she’s likely been there too. It’s like seeing a teacher out in public and realizing they exist outside of the classroom. Your mom has existed and continues to in ways separate from you. Her world might revolve around you now, but she’s still a growing person, just like you.

 

In a way, it’s unfortunate that it takes us so long to see this, but it actually just might be the best part of growing up. You get to see your mom in a new light, one that shows her vulnerability, fear and passions. You get to know her as a person, not just as your mom — don’t let that pass by. She has known you for your entire life thus far, you’ve only known her for a fraction of hers. Be curious about her life and get to know everything you can before it’s too late. Treat her more like a person and less like someone who will always be there because she might not be. She existed before you were born and lived a million lives before you were even discussed. Don’t let her forget that part of herself, the one that’s human, that messes up and falls down. 

 

Being a mother is the hardest job on the planet because it’s impossible to ever know if you’re doing it right. Even when you’re told how good a job you’re doing or even if your kids turn out exceptional, it’s hard not to wonder what you could be doing better, doing more of, doing at all. Unlike every other job, there’s no manual to being a mom. You have to do your best every day and hope everything turns out all right. You can’t call out or take the day off; you have to be present, aware and alert. There’s no training — you have to somehow know what to do without ever doing any of it before. Though I don’t have the credentials to speak on any mothers’ behalf, I feel like when you become a mom, it’s easy to lose sight of yourself as a person. You assume this role that suddenly becomes your whole world, and though it’s seemingly the most rewarding and beautiful thing about life, it’s hard work. It consumes your entire being, every sleeping and waking moment. You’re now a mother before you are a person. For the first time in your life, you have to put someone else before you in every way. It’s the miracle of life, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also the biggest sacrifice someone can make: putting their life on hold to raise another. It takes bravery, strength and resilience. You have to show up every day and put on a smile even after you’ve finished crying. But even for mothers, a brave face can become sore. 

 

I asked my own mother what the best and hardest part is about her role and she said, “The best part about being a mom is experiencing what love truly is, a bond that can never be broken. Laughter with my girls are the very best moments in my life without a doubt. The hardest part is that I never stop worrying. I have complete faith in their abilities, but life can throw us curve balls at times.”

 

When my parents got divorced, I was upset and confused but mostly mad. Selfishly, I was more concerned with what was going to happen to me and less with what was happening to them. It really did take me until my college years to understand the gravity of divorce. It sucks for the kids, no doubt, but it sucks on an entirely different level for the parents. My parents were together for almost 20 years until they decided they couldn’t do it anymore. That’s heavy stuff, most of which I couldn’t grasp being a kid. I was sad it was happening, but I was also angry they couldn’t just figure out how to stay together or tolerate each other enough for mine and my sister’s sakes. But now, as an adult, I realize that’s no way to live. Sometimes, people outgrow each other, forcing them to make hard sacrifices in order to keep growing. Sometimes, even as a mom, you have to put yourself first so you can be happy because you deserve to be happy, too. Looking back, I wish I gave them more grace and compassion for what they were going through. But kids don’t always think that way, so all I can do is give it to them now. My parents deserved to be happy even if that meant separating. They were people going through a divorce for the first time, just like when they got married. It was all new to them — love, loss and everything in between. 

 

Unfortunately, we’re not always guaranteed to have a relationship with our mothers. Sometimes, life happens and the connection is lost somewhere along the way. Other times, death knocks too soon, unannounced and unfairly, and the world is flipped upside down. Losing the one who gave you life is one of the worst things to happen to someone. Even if it’s not death that comes knocking, but some other force that keeps you apart, it’s the cruelest thing about this life. There’s no right time to lose that person. If you’re remembering her this May, remember her loud and proud. Talk about her to anyone who will listen, share your memories, say her name. Talk to her like she’s there because she is — she’s listening and proudly watching you grow. 

 

Mom, Mama, Mommy, Madre, Mother. Whatever you call her, or whatever you’re called, it means the same — love and life. If you’re fortunate enough to have your mom in your life this May, make this month an especially good one. It can be easy to take life for granted and even easier to forget who gave it to you in the first place. Make her feel special, loved and celebrated. Tell her how good a job she’s doing and how proud you are of her. Remind her of her strength, kindness and resilience. Ask her questions about herself. Consult her for advice and take it. Give her grace and compassion. Hug her, remember her and be nice to her. She’s only human after all, and she’s doing the best she can. 

About Mallory Pace

Friends and family knew Mallory Pace would become a writer when she wrote and illustrated a hand-made children’s book in the third grade for her class to read. It didn’t indicate a prodigy-in-the-making, but all the elements of a good storyline were there, waiting to be improved. Now, Mallory is about to graduate from the University of North Florida with a multimedia journalism degree and minors in political science and marketing, with which she hopes to continue storytelling and exploring avenues of multimedia journalism. In Mallory's free time, you’ll either find her taking her cat, Peter, on a walk via stroller, or galavanting around the beaches.