Mothering Without Mom

Little Miss is almost 21 months old now and she had her Gramma Caro for only four of those months.

I’ve been a mother for 21 months now, and I’ve had my mother for only four of those months.

My husband misses his Daddy when we have unexpected car repairs, he has frustrations and concerns about his time in the Navy, or when he wants to build a project that he knows will run away from him, and in a million other situations and little ways

I ache for my Mom in a million ways as I stumble through the tasks of being a Mom myself.

Last night I lay in bed in Mother-panic mode.  Wondering if I am doing things right.  Wondering how to approach disciplinary issues.  Wondering if I’m too harsh.  Wondering if I’m too soft.  Wondering if I’m teaching Little Miss how to eat healthily enough.  Wondering if I am teaching her how to love people, to be kind. 

And all of those thoughts led back to my Mom.  Little Miss’s arrival and early life will always be intertwined with my Mom’s sickness and death…  because the two things were so superimposed on one another.

But it is in the deeps of the night, when I am lying there playing the lawyer, judge, and jury in my very own Court of Motherhood when I find my longing for my Mom becomes nearly unbearable.

I wish so desperately for her voice in my life.  For her reassurance.  For her admonishment.  For her camaraderie.

I long to hear her say that I’m doing a good job.

I ache to confide in her all my anxieties and fears about what we do, and how Little Miss behaves, and see what she would have to say.  Would she be able to relate?  What would her advice be?  Would she tell me to relax?  Would she tell me to do better?  Would she tell me I worry too much?

And I would give anything for the chance to hear her remember her journey as a mother as I grew through the stages that Little Miss faces.  Did she feel this loneliness?  Did the nearly simultaneous dullness and delight of her days with me leave her confused too?  How did she deal with her doubts in herself as a mother?

And now I’m pregnant, and faced with the thought that Mom will never know this child, or any others that we may bring into the world….  She will never hold them, or call them by name.  I will never see the light of joy that being around them would bring to her eyes.  And this thought is so staggeringly hard, and the void so darkly immense, that I can’t even begin to process it, and so I shelve it most of the time.

I have read that women who lose their mother’s before the birth of their children often feel a renewed kinship with them as they realize the mother-child relationship as a mother themselves.

Because I lost my Mom when I was becoming a mother, more than feeling that kinship, I simply feel the pain of losing her just as my journey as a mother was beginning.  And the pain that brings as I walk through my own mothering can be immense.

I know how lucky I am to have been able to put my daughter into my mother’s arms….  I know that many women never get that experience.  But I ache that she couldn’t have held her longer.  I ache over the secrets they will never share, and the memories they will never make.

And I ache for the chance to know her in this way.  To shop for baby clothes together.  To hear her unasked for opinions and unsolicited advice.  To be nurtured in my nurturing.  To be comforted in her reassurance.  To be given the ability to laugh at myself when I’m taking myself too seriously.  I ache for her presence in my life as a Mother, and in my life in general

I guess…  I just…  ache.

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9 thoughts on “Mothering Without Mom

  1. This may not help – but God’s grace is sufficent. Not just to get us through the day, but our children as well. I know I did not have a lot of things when I was a child – maybe even some bad things – but God has seen me through. And He will see you and your children through as well. 🙂

  2. I think it is very natural for all new parents to worry about whether or not they are doing it right. You love your children that is obvious from you writing. It is scary I know, have been there. Show lots of love do you best and you will be fine. Some days will even seem impossible but you will get through them.

  3. My friend, deep, deep inside you, you know that your mother is always with you. She sees everything that Little Miss is doing and she’s up there in heaven telling everyone about her precious grand-daughter and her terrific daughter. Because you are a terrific daughter and a wonderfull mother. Little Miss is very lucky to have you.

  4. I don’t know what you believe as far as the afterlife, but I like to think that Eric is watching over me sometimes. It might be totally silly, and I’ve never seen any evidence that this is actually happening, but it’s nice to think sometimes that he can see my life progressing in memory of him.

  5. Thank you for allowing me to read this beautiful encouraging article for it is so true: God’s grace is sufficent. Not just to get us through the day, but our children as well. Sometimes we try and give our children things that we didn’t have while all the time all they want is our time and love.- but God has seen me through. and my five children through as well

  6. I lost my mom in April, and there are moments in my day when I too experience moments of sadness. It is hard to wrap your mind around something so incomprehensible as not having such an important person around any more. And so I guess I can understand your aching. When I’m feeling this way, I make one of mom’s meals or turn on my mom’s favorite music: Elvis and Johnny Cash. Perhaps you could do something similar.

  7. Thank you. You have expressed beautifully and poignantly my own feelings. I ache for you although you are a stranger. My son was not quite three when my mother died that was the day my daughter turned 8 mos old. My children are now 8 and 6 and I still feel the ache you describe. Your post brought me to tears. By now (I note the date of your post) you realize that the ache does not ever truly go away but time helps it recur less frequently.

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