I was standing on the sidelines at yet another football practice when I turned to the mom beside me to make conversation. "You know," I said, "these practices sure do take up a lot of time."
I had no idea what I was in for.
"Yes!" she turned to face me, putting her hand on her hip. "But you know what?"
I was afraid to ask.
"If we weren't here, my kids would just be at home watching TV."
I started to agree, but she wasn't finished.
"But you know, the real challenge is getting them home, feeding them dinner, making sure homework gets done and they get into bed on time because, you know, I am not one of those moms who is going to throw hot dogs and french fries at my kids every night. Right now I have chicken and green beans in the crock pot."
She took a breath.
"And in the morning do you know that you can cook an egg as quick as you can pour a bowl of cereal?"
I don't remember anymore of the conversation, but I do remember coming away knowing what it looked like to embrace your role as a mother. Though she didn't come across as arrogant, it was clear to me she was Da Mom.
At the time I probably had half a dozen kids. But I was preoccupied, winging it, flying by the seat of my pants and I knew it. The writer inside me seemed to never quiet down, and I found myself dabbling in parenting and immersing myself in my writing.
I don't know exactly why that football field lady impacted me the way she did, but I came screeching to a halt--asking myself how could I better embrace my role? I knew the first answer--show my kids they are my priority by writing only at nap time.
Then came attention to the little things--getting up a little earlier, trying a little harder in the kitchen, scheduling in homework time. In short, I became devoted to letting my kids know they are important to me by my simple, everyday actions.
A lot has happened since that conversation ten years ago. I have had two more babies and launched three of my kids into adulthood. I still have a long way to go, but I can honestly say I am trying my best to be Da Mom--it is nap time as I write this, for one thing.
Thank you, football field lady. The day I met you was the day I started doing things differently. Your enthusiasm for motherhood has had more impact than you'll ever know.