Motherhood is a noun. I like to think of it as the ultimate noun: it's so all-consuming that it is a person, place, thing, and idea all at the same time.
Every day thousands of women go to doctors, fertility clinics, and adoption agencies in order to become mothers. Every year, countless books are written about how to mother (a verb in this case). And yet it can also be very frustrating and seemingly stingy in its rewards. It's very obvious if you are a failure, and yet the rewards of a good job are few and far between, at least at first.
When I first became a mother I had all these ideals about what motherhood would be for me. I envisioned trips to the park and zoo, chocolate chip cookies and milk, bedtime stories and fuzzy pajamas. I didn't think of hours of crying babies, sick and whiny children, rotten attitudes and ungratefulness (oh, and sometimes the kids are like this too!).
One of the hardest things for me to get used to as a mother was the constant interruptions. It seems that a mom can never get a project or job of any length (this includes using the restroom!) completed without at least one interruption. I've had to stop dinner preparations to nurse a baby, stop and kiss endless numbers of boo-boos, and put on my mom's referee uniform more times than I care to think about.
This used to really frustrate me, and it still does at times. But with nearly a dozen years of motherhood under my belt and half-a-dozen kids, I had an epiphany: motherhood is all about the interruptions. Mothering isn't what you are doing when you are interrupted, mothering is dealing with the interruptions. Most of the lessons a child learns comes from what we think of as interruptions.
Child falls and hurts self - he learns that we are to care for those who are hurting and can't care for themselves
Siblings argue - they learn how to resolve disagreements
Child gets frustrated with school work - he learns that he really doesn't know everything
Baby cries in the middle of the night - he learns to rely on the unconditional love that forces a bleary-eyed mother out of bed.
I like schedules, routines, plans. I still don't always like interruptions. But I am hopefully learning patience. Because, when you think about it, in many ways life is all about the interruptions. The unexpected illnesses, the job losses, family squabbles and many others make up the topography of our lives, the ups and downs, the mountain peaks and valleys.
So while I used to think of motherhood strictly as preparing my children to be adults, I now also think of it as preparing me for life and, ultimately, for eternity.