Slices of Life: Things your mom never told you
I've got a newsflash for the naive among us: your mom didn't tell you everything. This comes with the territory of motherhood.
I'm talking about real lies about important things. Listed here are some of the things your mom probably never told you (and probably never will, but you didn't hear it from me):
She sacrificed more for you than you'll ever know — until you are a parent yourself. Then you will realize and lose your breath at the very thought of it. But you'll repeat the process because that's the circle of life.
She worries. About everything and nothing. About the important stuff and the inane. She worries about you and there's no way possible she can ever stop, so try to be patient with her on that end.
When she says, "I'll think about it," she probably has already made her decision.
You've broken her heart a thousand times, but not about anything that was bad in a bad sense. Her heart broke when you said your first word. (It was "ball.") Went to your first sleepover. And first date. When you got your driver's license. And first job. Each of those firsts was bittersweet, like a punch in the gut followed by side of hugs.
When you tell her you love her, her heart gushes. She could hear those words a thousand times a day and never tire of them.
You are growing up much too fast. They told her this would be the case, but she didn't believe them at the time. Not really.
She doesn't think of herself as a mom, but as someone young, more your age. When you are embarrassed to be seen with her in public, it hurts. More than she shows.
She's strict sometimes because she doesn't want you to make the same mistakes she did.
When she cooks something, it means a lot when you like it.
She really didn't know what she was doing. When they let her and your dad leave with you from the hospital, she was in a literal panic, thinking, "Now what?"
She's been thinking "now what?" ever since.
Sometimes, many times, it's easier for her to do it herself than to teach you and she feels guilty about that.
Even though motherhood has been the most difficult job in her life, sometimes she wishes she could go back in time and do it all over again. So she could read you one more bedtime story. Cuddle you in her lap. Kiss one more boo-boo. Rock you to sleep. Smell your sweet baby breath.
But then she thinks, "no." Because that would change the here and now and the person you have grown into and become is pretty darn awesome and she wouldn't change that for a minute.
And if she hasn't told you that, she should. She definitely should.
She never valued sleep before you were born, but immediately after, she was tired. She longed for a nap. She couldn't wait for you to sleep through the night and then when you finally did, she found herself standing beside your crib at 3 a.m., watching you breathe, tears running down her cheeks.
She doesn't dislike Skittles, Reeses, cheesecake or chocolate chip cookies. She just said that so you could have more. Ditto that for the final piece of bread at dinner.
On the other hand, she wasn't above hiding the good chocolate. It was in the cupboard above the fridge — too high for you to reach.
Speaking of guilt, she feels guilty about almost anything. Feeding you cereal for breakfast because you overslept again. Feeding you cereal for dinner because you are running late again. Forgetting picture day at school. Arriving late to the third-grade music program and not getting a seat in the front row. For being impatient when you need help with math homework. For giving you store-bought cookies instead of homemade. For doing too much. For doing too little. For taking her awesome role as your mom for granted sometimes.
She's afraid to tell you how much you are like her when she was young.
Jill Pertler is a syndicated columnist.