You become a mother the moment you conceive. You learn very quickly to self-sacrifice and learn to put your needs aside for the betterment of your children. During pregnancy you spend 9 months growing each child. You decline countless drinks, high sugar foods, and anything else deemed "unsafe" or "unhealthy." You sacrifice your body to your baby; stretch marks, extra skin, sags, t-h-r-o-w-i-n-g-u-p!, possible C-section scars. Not to mention labor. And that's just the beginning. I found once they were born to be even more restrictive since I was nursing. It seemed every food and even my beloved, coveted, much needed coffee was off limits. Greens, beans, red sauce, dairy...you name it, I couldn't have it. (You mean no pizza?! What's a girl to do?! I'm surprised I didn't lose more weight than I did.) You're up all night, have countless hours of lost sleep, cracked nipples, Mommy-brain, and lost sleep (did I say that already?).
And yet, if a beautiful pregnant baby belly, feeling your baby kick, feeling the rhythm of baby hiccups, bonding before birth, and meeting your baby for the first time isn't worth it...and if baby cuddles, baby kisses, baby smiles, baby coos and baby giggles weren't enough to make it all worth it (oh how the list of wonderful could go on forever)...the moment your little one stretches his/her pudgy little arms out and says "Mama," and then "Mommy," (or Dada/Daddy) Or, "Mommy, I love you." Oh. So. Worth. It. That precious word can make any sacrifice worth it.
However, lately my kids have been calling me "Mom." Gosh darn it, I worked hard for that "Mommy" title. I was hoping it would stick around a bit longer. Mommy means they're still little. Mommy means I have more time for baby cuddles. Mommy means they are still my sweet little boys. But, Mom? That makes me feel old (Mom, if you're reading this...you're not old!). Mom means my boys are growing up too fast! Mom means the years have been flying by. At this point, I long to hear Mommy.
This Mommy cherishes these moments. The days of organized chaos, no sleep, and lots and lots of cuddles. The days where my kids want to be with me, ask me to play with them, and will let me kiss them. The moments of discovery, of the many firsts (smiles, walking, talking, learning new words, etc), and of 'Mommy I love you.' I cherish these moments because they are numbered.
And for all you Moms and Dads out there...I hope you know that deep in our/their hearts, you'll always be "Mommy and Daddy."
Readers: Have your kids switched from Mommy/Daddy to Mom/Dad? Regardless, what has been your most cherished moment?
© Transparencies of Motherhood 2011