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Now this is a topic that can evoke the widest array of responses, insight, emotions, and discussion. Let me start by saying, I am not yet a mother. I say “yet” because although the years relentlessly march onward, I am not yet beyond having hope of becoming a mother one day. As I think about motherhood, the joy, the frustration, the exhaustion; I look around at all the messages that tell a story about motherhood. Not to mention all the examples of mothers I have in my own life. First and foremost, my own amazing mom, but many others that have played critical supporting roles on my path to potential motherhood. It is amazing to contemplate what it will take for me to be a good mom. There are all these conflicting messages. You need to be firm, yet kind; easy-going, yet structured; organized, yet flexible; a superhero, and yet a totally vulnerable human being. How can one person possibly be all those things and so much more? It makes focusing solely on the care of my cat, all the more appealing. So, as I pondered on these questions, the anxiety of being responsible for a totally helpless human being started to rise. And then it hit me. The reason for why there are so many ways of being a good mom, is because they aren’t focused on what they need to be for themselves, they transform into what they need to be for their children. Then the contradictions made more sense, for some more flexibility, others more structure; for one firm boundaries, and for another openness. They are all these things because they adapt to the needs of their children! So rather than the “mama bear”, perhaps they need to be “mama chameleons”. Ever changing and adapting, putting the needs of their children above their own. Always learning and adjusting. What an amazing and yet utterly exhausting concept. I mean you think about it, and there is never a “right” answer, or a correct “way to do it”. There is only the trial and error of helping not only create, but raise, future mothers and fathers. So as I approach this Mother’s Day, I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude for my mother and all the “mothers” in my life. For their love, their examples, their determination and endless sacrifice, their wisdom and patience, and for their uniqueness. The things that make them one-of-a-kind. It is their differences that make them each so very precious. Precious to their children, their loved ones, and to me. Happy Mother’s Day!

Jessica S