Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother's Day Role Model For All Moms


Stop what you're doing immediately (all 10,000 things at once) and have a seat. There is something I need to tell you.

I have made an amazing discovery. I found her: the perfect mom. The one we can all learn from, the one who can give us all hope, the one who is the whole package. The real deal. She has got it going on.

And here's the best part: you're going to absolutely love her. I promise, she's not going to make you feel insecure about your house, your wardrobe, or the size of your thighs. She's not going to preach to you, criticize you, or look down on you.

I'm telling you, she is incredible. It's like someone took the best parts of all the amazing moms you've ever met and rolled them into one.

I've only known her a few weeks but she's had such a profound impact on me that I had to introduce you to her. She's really quite camera shy, so that means you don't have to worry about her clogging up your news feed with selfies. While she's not anti-social by any means, she is going through a really hectic time in her life so I don't think she's even ON Facebook. Twitter is probably closer her genre anyway.

So who is this Mystery Mom? The one who has it all together, the one who is that perfect blend of patience, perseverance, energy, discipline, and love?

It's definitely not THIS mom. She's the first one to admit she is pretty much just fumbling her way through.

Believe it or not, I'm not even talking about this Mother.

 And while this mom has many of those attributes...

 And this one has others...

The mother I'm actually referring to is....well, a bird of a different feather. She has 13 children (yes, 13. As in a baker's dozen) with no nanny, no visiting grandparents, no extra hands on deck that I'm aware of. The kids are all well fed, well groomed, and polite. You'd think a household that large would be total chaos, but quite to the contrary. This mom has things totally under control. She is calm and relaxed. The whole bunch- they're not just surviving, they're thriving.

Look closely (like I said, she's camera shy and always on the go) and you just might be able to spot her.

Look again and you might catch a glimpse of a few of her newborn children.

I'm told there are 13 of them, but they move quickly and bear a strong resemblance to each other so I might have counted a few of them more than once.

Yes, the perfect mom is, in fact, a duck.

Now before you stop reading and assume there's nothing you could possibly learn from something so...fowl... and that I must be a... quack...let me just remind you that we are talking about a mom to THIRTEEN children. Just take a moment and let that sink in. Do a quick inventory of your own children, and then consider that Mama D just might be able to teach us something. Did I mention that those babies were just born three days ago? Does she look amazing, or what?

For weeks I've watched her sit on her nest in the courtyard of my daughter's preschool. Day after day, we'd come stomping into the building, me and my 3 little ducklings, usually running late, still tucking in shirts and zipping up backpacks, often times with remnants of breakfast smeared across one...ok, two... ok, fine- three of their faces.

And there she was- right outside the window, just camped out on her nest, day after day. In the midst of the noise and confusion as hundreds of children and their parents paraded past and ogled her, she never batted an eye. I don't know when she ate, or slept, or had any kind of "me duck" time, but she never complained. I don't know much about her background, but I think it's safe to assume she made some major sacrifices to be there for her babies. You'd never know it from her demeanor.

I don't think she was waging any kind of internal battle over her identity, nor do I think she was consumed with decisions about "opting out" or "leaning in." I have no doubt that before she was Mama D she was a duck with a very her own dreams, aspirations, and goals. But there was no bitterness or regret in her eyes, she was simply doing what she knew needed to be done with grace and poise, what she knew only she could do. Through rain, fog, sleet, and even late Spring snow, she sat there contently, just taking care of business. I'm sure that somewhere inside Mama D knew that as difficult as some of those moments were, they were not forever. You might say that in the moment, she was just...well, ducky.

Never once in the time that I've known her have I seen or has she mentioned the babies'  father (and I can't bring myself to ask- aside from the language barrier, it would feel rude) so I think it's safe to say she's raising these kids on her own. They are not even one week old and she has already whipped them into shape: she says "We're going for a walk," and they line up and get moving. She says "Swim!" and they start paddling. Set the bar high and your kids will jump (or at least waddle) for it- Mama D is proof of that.

Maybe if we were all just a little more like Mama Duck we would swim through motherhood a little more easily. Maybe we would just focus on what needs to be done we'd be able to let the rest roll away... like water off Mama Duck's back. Maybe if we followed her lead, we wouldn't let our feathers get so ruffled.

So the next time you start feeling overwhelmed and start feeling like motherhood is too much, just take a deep breath, think of Mama D and her 13 babies, and ask yourself:

"What the duck am I so worried about?"

Happy Mother's Day.

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