Mom with a capital ‘M’
By Lacy Heinz
I rolled up to my favorite drive-thru espresso stand in my usual morning uniform: uncombed hair in a tousled knot, lightly stained T-shirt and yoga pants — the faint ring of toothpaste on my lower lip the only sign that I had recently partaken in any sort of hygienic routine.
My children sat smiling in their car seats as I ordered motivation-in-a-cup from the perky barista. I laughed to myself as I pulled forward to the payment window. I must have looked a wreck to this lovely coffee girl.
Perhaps that is why I unexpectedly blurted out, “You know, I was the president of my graduate school class.”
Shocked, I looked around to see who had just said that. No one in her right mind says that sort of thing while paying for a cup of coffee! Especially not me, a person with good manners and self-confidence!
The sweet girl just looked at me and said, “Well, you have such adorable children. It’s good to know your education is going to such important use.” I would have hugged her if not constrained by a seat belt.
What this lovely girl reminded me of is that I am a Mother. With a capital “M.” No other label fits. I am not a homemaker because, frankly, I am terrible at keeping a home. Sticking to a cleaning and decluttering routine is nearly impossible for my chaotic brain. I was raised to focus on going to school in order to become a professional and have a career. And before having babies, I did this and did it well.
But, at this point, I’m not a “career woman” either. I work part time from home, never quite able to catch my business line before it hits voicemail, drafting documents during naptime and often needing to reprint them when sticky fingers or a renegade crayon leave their marks. I love that I am able to do this and would make the same choice a thousand times over. I use my education, but also get to see my kids all day, every day.
But it is not a life without its sacrifices.
My little class president admission was a cry for help. In case you hadn’t caught it like the barista did, the cry was: “Who am I?” I was a “kid,” then a “student,” then a “grad student,” a “wife,” and an “employee.” But what happens when you are wearing so many hats that no label really fits? Who are you then?
For example, I have to-do lists for work, home and mothering the babies. Self and husband get thrown in sometimes. I have so many labels in my life that I’ve become a Jill-of-all-trades. I find my appearance lacking, my to-do list items rarely crossed off in a timely manner, my house a shambles and my work rushed. Those are the sacrifices I have to make.
And then I do something nutty like tell the sweet lady making my Americano that I used to be somebody important, with a specific role, someone who presumably showered and wore mascara. Someone who got out of bed and knew what she was doing.
Thankfully, her quick response reminded me that I do actually know what I am doing. Despite floundering in several life departments, I intentionally chose to make the kids my first priority in life while letting all of these other things slide. I wanted to be first and foremost a Mother with a capital “M”!
So as this season progresses, instead of worrying about marketing my firm, how many times I vacuumed, whether the leaves are all raked up or whether my competition is taking my clients, I will turn my attention to the best parts of the chilly season.
For me, that would be teaching my sweet little ones what each holiday month has to offer, wiping their little noses and savoring each moment we have together. I’ll just have to have faith that the rest will be taken care of in its own time.
–Lacy Heinz is a Mom with a capital M who loves to read, root for the Oregon Ducks, and do a little legal work when time and preschoolers permit.
Filed under Featured Stories, From the Mag