On Mothering

I’ve occasionally experienced a dream that feels so real, I sometimes find myself questioning its truth.  This particular dream revolves around never actually having a Masters Degree, and is always a variation of accidentally missing one required course or being informed years later that my hard work was just a futile attempt at nothing.  

I’m well aware of what this dream is rooted in.  Sometimes the questioning of my role and what is best for my family feels heavy on my shoulders.  I once worked in a field with communities so marginalized, that each and every day felt purposeful.  I stopped working when Lucia was 14 months old, yet the phone calls for more work steadily came in.  Slowly they stopped altogether.

The decision to be home full time has been a great blessings for my family.  Yet, it is often easy to lose that perspective when the kiddos are arguing, there is still hardened play-doh on my floor, the awesome company benefits are long gone and so is my steady paycheck.

It recently took a family bout of a horrific flu/plague to remind me of the importance of my role as mama and the magnitude of our collective role as mothers.  In our own sickness, we mamas hear through plaster walls and white noise makers.  We rise to lessen fevers and soothe scared little ones.  In the middle of the night, we move in whispers, back-pats and sways, to the natural rhythm of our homemade lullabies.

We listen intently to stories of hurt feelings and attempt to ease physical pain with magic kisses.  We are the first ones called  upon early (usually too early) in the morning – and the pow-wow always seems to take place on our side of the bed.

In mothering, there is no dissertation to defend, no articles to co-author in scholarly journals and sometimes judgement even within our own families.

Yet there is unparalleled joy, humility and abiding love.  With children to raise and send off into this world, and characters to build and gratitude to help sow – our roles as mothers (in whatever form they come in) should never be doubted.

Sometimes perspective comes in the most unexpected ways.   



  1. It's funny, I have had this exact same dream, similar, having a major exam and not have studied for it! It's a relief to wake up and realize I don't have to do a single exam for the rest of my life, if I choose it!!! Lol. I truly relate to your view on mothering, beautifully said. Thank you for the lovely reminder of the value of all mommas!

  2. This is a wonderful post. I have my Masters too (and am just a dissertation shy of my doctorate…working on it now), and miss the work and the income, but love staying home.

    It was agreed that I would do so until the little one went to school, and he's in Kindergarten now, so I will be re-entering the work force soon.

    If I could make the money staying home comparable to what I'll make going back, I'd do it in a heartbeat. There's nothing like being there for your child, and no work, regardless of pay, that holds a candle to being a SAHM. At least imho. 🙂

    • Sometimes it is easy to loose perspective and I think that many moms (both working, SAHM and WAHM)sometimes slip into forgetting their importance when the mundane and sick full dishes seems to rule. And although I am beyond grateful for the sponsors who have helped to support this blog and my writing, I am always wondering if I should re-enter the work force. Best of luck to you on your doctorate (so exciting!) and your return to work.

  3. I think most stay-at-home moms feel this way. I miss working very much, especially the money. I LOVE that I am fortunate enough to stay home with my children but sometimes they drive me insane. I also wish I could interact with adults more often. Staying home to watch your children grow is a very special. I worked two jobs and went to school when my teenagers were younger. It was very hard.

    • You have really had the chance to experience two different extremes between having teenagers and little ones at home. I definitely feel fortunate, but it is at a cost too.

  4. I love how you wrote this!! I too left my career to be home with my kids. I left my own office and managing position to endless housecleaning and child rearing and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Great great post!!

  5. this post resonate so much. i recently felt the real meaning of motherhood when my husband was away for work for a week and i was left alone with my sick daughter.

    very nice post.

    stopping by from casey

  6. Oh Monica. There's so many emotions that are evoked by this post, feelings I have from my own decision to put my career on the back-burner. I didn't have my boys until I was in my thirties because I was afraid that I'd somehow lose my hard-earned much beloved work. And maybe in my heart, I knew what would happen the minute I gazed at my tender infant in my arms. Because it did. Once I gave birth,I fell head-over-heels with my children and I did put mothering over my career at every step of the way. I was lucky my husband shared the same vision about the importance of these early years in particular, because it did mean financial sacrifice. And loss. I won't deny it. I remember one time in the car when the boys, little toddlers, were napping in their carseats in back. I was listening to Dr. Laura (who usually grates on me) but on this day she was speaking rather elegantly about mothering. And I was so moved. I remember pulling over to the side of some neighborhood street, turning off the car and just weeping. Flat out sobbing. It was a moment of sheer honesty where I simply missed my work and and all those positive accolades and empowerment you feel when you're out in the world in touch with your goods. But at that moment I just knew. I knew it would never be the same now that I was a mother. It just couldn't be, it wasn't in my DNA. And that was a decision I never regretted.
    I think part of being a grown up woman is knowing what your priorities are, what's non-negociable in your life and than living it. Is there a trade-off? Of course. Do I think you can have it all? Hmm…I do, but not all at once. That's been my experience at least.
    Today I'm the mother of the most amazing young men–18 and 20. And I say this NOT because they're going to Ivy league colleges, or because they get straight As, or never get into trouble. God knows none of these are true. But they show all the signs of being deep, substantive, compassionate guys. Who happen to be bright and funny too. There are moments now when I glance at them and I can't believe what I see.
    In the end, I think one has to listen to their deeper voice and do what feels right for them. I'm always empathic, whatever the choice.
    I love your photos, especially the one in bed, it's so sweet!
    Leslie (Gwen Moss)

    • I greatly appreciate your insight and hearing about your grown boys. I too hope for my children to grow into compassionate adults with moral integrity. Thank your for your thoughtful comment. xo

  7. Beautiful. Your writing and your honesty is so thoughtful and poignant. Being a stay at home mom is so hard. Some days I am thankful I get to go to a job and get a break, but others I long to be home and get to be with my boys. Being a mom is the hardest thing I have done, much harder than defending my Master's thesis.
    Enjoy all of that unconditional love, the hugs, and the tough moments, our role as moms is really the most remarkable gift.

    • I think that we can also be incredibly hard on ourselves. I try to be a better person each and every day – a component of that includes forgiving myself and trying to value what I do well.

  8. Good thoughts and so true. Visiting and following from the Lady Bloggers Network.

  9. Beautiful entry Monica!

  10. I think the hardest thing for mothers to do is either start working again or studying. I went for my degree after I had my first child and although I had many dreams like yours 🙂 I still do not regret it. However it did force me out of being a stay at home mom and into the working work. Which lead me to being a teacher. I get to teach kids (lifelong dream) and get home around 3 to spend the evening with my kids. Its a win win.

    • I agree Jillian and am so inspired by your hard work and perseverance. I worked full time and got my Masters at night prior to having kids. I was always blown-away by the mothers in my program. It took so much juggling and dedication. I am so glad that you found your calling and feel that you have a win win. I hope that I can someday feel that way too as I begin to work a bit more.

  11. Such beautiful words Monica. These posts of yours capture the moments that really make momma's like yourself special beings. Thank you for posting such poetic words.


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