Mother's Day

Graphic by Samantha Tonarelli.

Today, we celebrate all of the hard-working moms in our lives who have given up so much to care for those around them. The journey of motherhood is both grueling and rewarding to many. In honor of Mother’s Day, a few local moms give some insight into the complexities of motherhood.

When it comes to the rewarding parts of mothering, these moms had plenty to share. Turlock local and mom of three daughters, Kristi Mazuelos shares some of her favorite parts of motherhood. “Everything about breastfeeding. The scent of a newborn baby's head. Laughing together (from the first infant giggles all the way to adulthood). The firsts--smile, steps, lost tooth, etc. Being in nature together.”

Just as Mazuelos has enjoyed different things about each stage of her children’s lives, so too does Shannon Carmack-Mize. “My favorite part is how much they trust me to be everything they need at all stages of their lives - even when it’s letting them leap from the nest.” 

Mom of two daughters (and my aunt) Barbara Allen-Young says that her favorite part of motherhood has been getting to share her life with two wonderful people. “My daughters are two of my favorite people in the world.”

Many of these mothers mentioned that one special part of being a mom is getting to experience the love of their children.

Mother of one son, Jeraline Singh Edwards says that her favorite part of motherhood is “Knowing of a love greater than anything else in the world.” 

Signal alumna and mom of one, Aliyah Stoeckl (senior, Communication Studies) agrees, explaining that “Having a bad day at work and coming home to a tiny person saying they love you and being seen as a superhero” helps her get through the tough days.

Stoeckl says that “My favorite part about being a mom is watching my son grow up and explore the world before my eyes.”

Kelly Osterhout, local mom of two,  agrees with Stoeckl, saying that her favorite part of motherhood is “Watching my children grow up.” However, she adds that this is also the most difficult part as well. 

Watching one’s children navigate a confusing and sometimes difficult world can be hard for many mothers. 

Carmack-Mize explains that “The hardest part is watching them fall. It’s a lesson that they need - that they can get back up and keep going - but it’s so hard to allow them to get hurt.”

Mazuelos agrees, saying that the hardest part of parenthood to her is “Not being able to protect them from being hurt by cruel people in their world.” She adds that another hard part is “Learning to forgive myself when I make a mistake in parenting.”

This is something that many of the mothers agree with. Allen-Young says that the most difficult thing is “Having regrets. In hindsight, wishing I had handled some things differently.”

With motherhood being a full time job, it can be challenging to balance all of the other aspects of life at the same time. Stoeckl explains that “The hardest part is you never get a day off, and when you do, you spend it missing your child.”

Singh Edwards agrees that it’s difficult to balance home and work life.  “It’s not true you can have it all. Sacrifices have to be made no matter what! And trying to not feel guilty when you choose satisfying work over being home earlier.”

When one becomes a mother, they aren’t simply given a handbook on how to proceed. There is trial and error, and a steep learning curve. All of the unknowns of parenthood may seem very overwhelming and terrifying to many new mothers. 

For this reason, many new moms may find comfort in seeking advice from those who have already been where they are going. For any new moms who may be feeling lost and isolated (especially during the pandemic) here is some advice from these veteran moms. 

One piece of advice from Osterhout, is to not always feel like you have to listen to others' advice.

“Please know that every mother and child relationship is different, what works for one may not work for another. Listen to your gut and don’t be afraid to stand your ground for your children. You know what your child needs and it is not the same as your mom-friends, family or neighbor moms. It’s okay to not follow the trends or what people tell you what you should be doing. It’s okay!”

Singh Edwards gives advice on deciding when to have children. “Honestly to not wait to have children until you think everything is in place, because that will really never be the case. Have kids when you have the best chance of a healthy pregnancy and can afford to balance child and work.”

Mazuelos speaks on the importance of self forgiveness and listening to your children. “When you are struggling to forgive yourself for a parenting mistake, think of what you would say to a friend who did the same thing, and give yourself the same grace you would give her. Breastfeed as long as you both want to. Listen to your children. Believe your children.”

Allen-Young advises mothers to “Enjoy and nurture your relationship with children. Ask for help when you need it. Say you're sorry when you mess up (and you will mess up!). Be kind to yourself, being a mama will test you. End everyday with `I love you.’”

Carmack-Mize reminds new parents that “you aren’t raising kids, you’re raising adults. They already know how to be kids. Raise them to be people that you want to share the world with.”

For those who are worried about whether or not they are being a good mom, Stoeckl has some advice, “Don’t forget to take care of yourselves too. Relax and trust your instincts. If you’re worried about being a good mother, then you already are one.” 

One mom who knows what it’s like to begin your parenting journey during the pandemic is Katie Young. Mother of a 15 month old boy and my sister. 

To any other new moms, Young advises them to “Be present. Try to let go of expectations. Your baby will constantly surprise you and also amaze you.”

Whether you are a new mom, or a mom of adults, thank you for all of the hard work and sacrifices that you have made for your children. Happy Mother’s Day!

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