To Really See Your Mama.


At some point, in our childhood, we’ve all recited the classic line, ‘when I’m a mother I won’t _______ or _______.’

Only now, as a parent, can I smirk (or belly laugh) at my own naivety.

I remember being ten years old, sitting at my parent’s dinner table, choking down vegetables (lima beans should cease to exist, off taste alone, they don’t deserve to live), gagging while thinking to myself, I will never do this to my kids, ever. 

My mother will tell you I didn’t think that statement just to myself, almost all my thoughts flew out of my mouth unfiltered.

Back then, usually after a healthy dose of discipline, I’d recite two things:

One.  Back-talking means soap, always.

Two.  I was going to be a cool mama.  I was dead set on it.

I’d decided when it came to my “future” children’s nutrition, sure, I’d serve three full meals, but those meals would only consist of perishables at the peak of the pyramid—candy, ice cream, and I’d even have a chocolate fountain in the middle of my “future” kitchen and no one in my house would ever utter the words vegetables or happy plate in the same sentence. Never.

To spite my mama even more, I’d even let my kids make their own bedtime and I’d entertain them all day—there’d be no throwing them outside in the summer with a bucket and good luck to make their own fun, absolutely not.

Oh, Sarah—you little idiot.

As a mother now, I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed (at age 10, I was self-assured of believing I-knew-it-all–it was my religion), or just shrug my shoulders at my ignorance—conceding to, it is what it is.

My own mother, on the other hand, knows exactly how to feel about it as she watches me battle for my sanity as the mother of four daughters.

“I told you…” She sings, following with a hug and laugh—the kind that swiftly mashes your face in the ‘ah-ha’ mud.  A true muahahahaha moment.

Can I blame her?


I’m actually smiling writing this. She’s earned every right to have a little fun at my expense.  She survived raising me and my siblings—she holds hero status, every mama who wakes up everyday, committed to their children’s well-being and future is a freakin hero. Period.

Plus, I love making my mama laugh, strictly to hear it. The sound of her laughter is infectious and feels brilliantly warm, among being loud. Anytime she laughs, I’m reminded of Julia Roberts—think her laugh in Pretty Woman.

Unabashed, loud, and genuine.

 My mother is genuine.

The more experience I gain as a mother, the more I’ve come to learn how fragile my own mother is too.

There are so many things I understand now, I simply couldn’t then as a child. Like how heavy the weight of real emotions feel upon your shoulders, everyday…the worry for your children’s health, their happiness, protecting them–even from themselves, the endless strive to implement every ounce of your success, knowledge into their little being so ultimately they can be the best version, the one you can’t even imagine of yourself, because it’s so amazing.

It’s splitting yourself open for the sake of your children’s needs and yet trying to remember, to respect that you are still a person too.

It’s the subtle way my daughter Amelia, who’s five, runs her little fingers down my stomach, tracing the lines that prove she lived within me, while asking, “what’s wrong with your tummy?”  I’m unable to combat the innocence of her question against my fragility.

It’s a stark moment that makes your self-esteem swell up, prickle and burn your eyes, and only the vision of your child’s sweet, virtuous face saves you from shedding the tears threatening to spill over your lids, carving heavy trails down your cheeks. Those tears, even shed, have no meaning.  My body could never reflect my heart.  The love I have for the gift of four pregnancies, for my daughters.

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”

–Donna Ball

If I love my mama’s laughter, I adore her hugs.

Embraced within in her arms feels like a sanctuary.  Her soft skin, her perfume tickling my nose, feels like a string of my best childhood moments playing all at once. Every worry, every doubt temporarily blocked, I am shielded left to roll in the grass, laugh with my siblings, and feel utterly weightless in this life.

Becoming a mother gave me new eyes and the value of this new eyesight has been understanding my own mother’s worth, her emotions, her love, her patience, the heartbreak, the joy…

It’s seeing her beauty.  And further, respecting it.

It’s forcing yourself not to sob realizing the struggles she faced as a single mother.  It’s the awe you obtain knowing how much she smiled, even when it hurt, in the face of hardship.  It’s how selfless her heart was then and remains, the kind that spent every tax return on braces for her three kids when she got less than it took for child-support.

It’s recalling the past, knowing now how terrified she truly was, but remembering how strong she stood.  It’s the way you catch her eyes reeling in the scene of your own daughters before her and knowing your eyes will someday come to reflect hers, bearing the joyful ache of a time long gone.  It’s the way you can’t help but wish she was immortal, the pain–imagining a world without her in it–leaving you breathless and empty.

“Because even if the whole world was throwing rocks at you, if you had your mother at your back, you’d be okay. Some deep-rooted part of you would know you were loved. That you deserved to be loved.” ―Jojo Moyes

To really see your own mother, in the face of your very own motherhood, is both blinding and vastly eye-opening.  To arrive upon realization that this road of raising babies is rough and there is no manuscript, no instructions.  To see her with understanding, how she prepared you for this journey of motherhood you are on, yet she never had to say a word out loud.  It’s knowing she chose to care, to love, to shelter, to pray, to push against the overwhelming weight this world lives to drown mothers in, whispering you are not good enough.

We are all on our knees, dwindling between the immersion of our love, having a full tank of patience and in seconds quickly depleting our last shred of said patience, feeling overwhelmed and flirting with the grey lines of depression, being trapped in phases, but feeling as though your heart will burst from pure delight at the moments, it’s struggling with self-worth, getting our self-esteem knocked out, it’s digging deep for strength, laced with experiencing the taste of pure joy…because children are worth every struggle, every bleak moment.

I want to mirror my own mama, striving to impart on my daughters that they are worthy, always and they deserved to be loved, endlessly.  Every child does.

When I became a mother, the love I had for my own mother expanded beyond description, most in part of being let in on the secret.

“This is what we do, my mother’s life said. We find ourselves in the sacrifices we make.”
―Cammie McGovern.

I am forever indebted and grateful for her, my mama, my biggest inspiration, my person.

As mama to my beauties, it’s been a constant, delirious, most gorgeous evolution of nearly a decade of motherhood and I’m still barely grasping how exhilarating, yet painfully terrifying it is to witness my heart beat outside of my chest, four fold.

–Mama (and sometimes Mother, when I’m mad),

Every word, every praise feels so small.  The words too insignificant.  The only explanation to correlate what lives within my heart for you is being comforted knowing the very being of who you are is rooted within me, evoking magnificent meaning into my own title of Mama.  Thank you.  I love you more than humanly possible, for all of who you are, but especially as my mama, endlessly.



p.s.  There are so many things in the world that beg to defeat you, your spirit, your will.  This world is mean, it just is.  We need to be Mamas who raise our babies to make this world less cruel until we are all called home.

p.p.s.  Go hug your Mama, call her, find some way, big or small, to express your gratitude.  To be a Mama is the hardest job there is in this entire world, we all need support, forgiveness, encouragement, love, and sometimes a little recognition.  Celebrate those you love–make the world less cruel, today.

{Hugs to all the Mamas}





Author: Sarah Black

I'm a self-professed 'Drama Mama'...of four daughters, I blog to (over)share my stories on learning to maintain my sanity by strictly eating laughter in the emotional land of motherhood while trying to keep my husband from running away from the sheer amount of estrogen flooding our house.

2 thoughts on “To Really See Your Mama.”

Leave a Reply