Ten years ago, I wrote a book about the trials and tribulations of raising two little girls while working full-time. My mother came up with the clever title "Smotherhood," which simultaneously refers to the pressures on mothers of young children and the way in which we as parents smother our children at times.
With another Mother's Day behind me, I suddenly reflected on this phenomenon. Like most of you, I spent the holiday this year like any other day, ferrying my daughter to dance, doing laundry, washing dishes, making beds. This is not martyrdom; this is simply life. Mothers don't stop being mothers just because it's Mother's Day.
Much of what mothers do is invisible. Behind-the-scenes, if you will. The efforts of mothers are only noticed in their absence. Can you imagine what would happen to your house or your children's schedules if you suddenly decided to take a break from motherhood for a few days?
We rarely get praised for what we do, especially those of us raising teenagers. They are God's revenge for what we did to our parents as teens. But I am reminded of an important quote I once heard: "It's not their job to love us; it's our job to love them."
So, on this Mother's Day, I decided to ponder the end game. We do what we do because of the unconditional and undefinable depth of our love for our children. But I think it's more than that. I think we all secretly hope that someday our children will remember and realize their mothers did a pretty good job. Certainly not a perfect job, but a respectable job.
They will remember they were loved, that they had what they needed and most of what they wanted. And, in turn, they will parent their own children with that same imperfect dedication to doing their best, always with the most loving intentions. If I could see the future, that would be the greatest Mother's Day of all: To know what I did made a difference.
While their early years will be forever preserved in "Smotherhood," I hope all of their growing up years will be recalled with one simple underlying thought: That mom did the best she could, and she did it all with love ...
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.