For better or for worse, I don't define myself as a mother first. If someone asked me what I do, that wouldn't be the first thing that I mentioned. Even if I were a stay-at-home mother, I don't think I'd answer, "Well, I have two kids..."
There are some who would be horrified by that, and they would assume (a) that I am incredibly selfish, (b) that I don't love my children properly, (c) that I take the Boy's and the Girl's wonderful presence in my life for granted, or (d) all of the above. None of those things are true about me, but go ahead and be all judgy.
Anyway, I know there are scores of people who define themselves as parent first and foremost. Just take a look around Facebook and see how many profile pictures of your friends feature their progeny. Cripes, some of my friends' profile pics don't even include themselves. It's like they can't even wait for people to look at their bios or stats or whatever to see that they have children -- that bit of news is FRONT AND CENTER, baby.
Truth is, my children's welfare is always, always, always the first thing I consider in big decisions. For instance: Super Ninja and I are looking to move so that we can be in a really good school district as opposed to the dicey one that we're in now. Oh, and sidewalks. My kingdom for a network of sidewalks.
Perhaps my low-key-itude is overcompensation for my own mother's attitude toward motherhood? Ask her anything, ANYTHING, about herself, and the fact that she has seven children will come up within 30 seconds.
Let's analyze that later.
The whole reason I started writing this post is because I had one of those didn't-think-it-was-weird-'til-later moments over the weekend. Let me set the scene: the Girl seems to have a bit of an allergy to something floating in the air 'round our manse, so she's been a bit stuffy. But two-year-olds aren't proficient at the whole nose-blowing thing, and the air has been a bit dry despite prodigious use of humidifiers, so the end result was a crusty glob of yuck plugging up her nostrils. It was particularly bad yesterday morning. From several feet away, I could hear her exhalations whistling around the chunks in her nose.
So, I did what any mother would do.
I bribed her with M&Ms. Why the bribe? To allow me to pick her nose, of course. That's right. No tissue was going to get the job done. These things required extraction. But when the yuck gets that big, the removal is a little painful, even it it is softened up a little with some of this stuff. The M&Ms were to tempt her to stay still for a nano-second so that I didn't accidentally pierce her nose or anything like that. Four M&Ms later, we were done.
The thing is, I wasn't grossed out by it. I wanted to do it. I was compelled to do it. And, when all was said and done, I felt a sense of accomplishment. I scrubbed my hands thoroughly afterward, to be sure. But I didn't dry heave or anything like that.
And that's the kind of quiet moment that defines motherhood to me. It's not proclaiming from a mountaintop that I am a mother. It's just being one. Showering my kids with affection, and truly being eager to roll up my sleeves and do the grunt work that helps them, be it teaching them to read, explaining social interactions, or pinning them down and picking their noses so that they breathe more easily.
So, suck on that, ye doubters.