By now most people are fully aware of the current mommy war being waged thanks to the recent TIME Magazine cover story: Are You Mom Enough?
I actually agree with attachment style parenting, but really, this is not a war I am fighting. In fact, this is the only mommy war I’ll wage: Where’s the Mommy War for the Motherless Child? (please go read this excellent post, it is worth your time)
See, many of the parenting choices other moms talk about were already made for me by the time I met my children. I don’t even know what Big Brother looked like before he was 2.5 years old. If you want to know how I really feel about motherhood and my journey, then you should read my “dear me” post or my Mother’s Day post from last year.
I don’t much care for playing the I’m a better mom than you game. Because you know what? I am just thrilled to be called mom.
On Mother’s Day 2008, I celebrated my first Mother’s Day, but it looked much different than anything you have probably seen. You see, on this Mother’s Day my child was 9,000 miles away living in an orphanage in Vietnam. I had only met him through pictures. We had just found out that there were problems processing his visa and that our adoption was now in limbo.
Because my child was only in my heart and not in my arms, not a single person wished me Happy Mother’s day. No one acknowledged that I was indeed a mom whose path to motherhood was a unique and winding one. It’s not because I am surrounded by mean people, it’s because most of the time people just don’t know what to say or how to respond. I get it.
Then I turned on the news and saw that a popular Mother’s Day contest had put adoptive moms in the non-mom category. Everywhere I turned, I was feeling like a big old non-mom.
This is what I wrote a year ago about my experience of motherhood, with two adoptions under my belt and one of those being an older child, special needs adoption:
When you adopt a child, you promise to love them through the good times and the bad times. You love them even when you know they don’t yet love you in return. You kiss the boo boo’s on the outside while trying to mend the deep, profound wounds on the inside. You put on a loving face as they pull away from you, you quiet your voice as they rage against your touch, and you hold them tight as they kick and scream trying to get away. You do everything a loving mother would do while trying to mask your own pain. You smile and coo, while on the inside your heart is breaking. Day after day, you mother them in the hopes that someday they will reach up to you and ask for your touch. You know that healing is measured in years, not days. You march forward because you know it’s the only way you can get to where you want to be. You never give up hope that attachment will come. It’s a tough job that many people can’t fathom. It’ s so, so hard, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Over the years it has become apparent that some view me as lesser of a mom because I did not have the biological experience that they had. So I have beat myself up about it time and time again.
Here is what I think about being mom enough.
I am mom enough to hold a screaming child who does not love me, and in return show him that I have all the love in the world to give.
I am mom enough to accept the fact that some horrible things happened to my children before I met them and there is not a darn thing I can do about it.
I am mom enough to be more than a cook, chauffeur and teacher. I am mom enough to be a healer.
I am mom enough to understand motherhood looks different for me and that it’s ok.
You are mom enough. I am mom enough. To the one reading this who is loving your child from afar, whether that means in an orphanage or a place not of this world, you are mom enough. To the mom across the world who is doing everything in her power to feed and protect the child in a place where poverty is the way of life, you are mom enough. To the one who had to make the impossible, heartbreaking decision to place your child for adoption, you are mom enough.
Let’s use our energy to fight for something more important. Let’s wage a mommy war for the motherless child or for the moms here and all around the globe that need support to be the best moms they can be. This Mother’s Day, instead of worrying about how you measure up, why not go and lend a loving hand to a mom in crisis or to a child in need? Let’s show the world that we are mom enough to put aside our own first world problems in order to help those who really need it.
“Somewhere, children dance to the joyous music of life, and elsewhere they only cling to existence….they are all our children.” -Unknown