The Mother’s Day holiday is one of my favorite days of the year.  I genuinely enjoy celebrating being the mother of two incredible kids more than my birthday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day combined.

Like many little girls who played house with their dolls as children, I often depicted the ‘perfect’ mother as I imagined her to be…

As a mother, I would not be super strict nor give my kids chores and rules!  I swore to never repeat the annoying phrases I heard as a child, such as “because I said so” to my kids!  My children would be allowed to make messes and leave toys around the house without me obsessively forcing them to clean up minute to minute.  Lastly, I predicted that my three children – two girls and one boy, would be from one easy pregnancy (my dad was a triplet with two sisters)!

Although my childlike visions of future motherhood were humorous and unrealistic, but well-intentioned, the point is that women are not supposed to choose their path or timeline for becoming a mother nor are we given a manual outlining the ‘correct’ way to raise a child.  We do the best we can with what we’ve learned from our own upbringing and life experiences.

During the very moment I became a mother for the first time to my son, Skyler and then two years later when I welcomed my daughter, Kendall, I whispered a solemn vow to God that I would support, protect, nurture, teach and love my children no matter what he had planned for their lives.

Regardless of the circumstance, it was with full confidence and certainty that I would do everything imaginable to give my kids the most amazing life – one that is full of love, laughter and memories to cherish.

My only hope each day is that I’m making Him proud of how I’m parenting each of my children precisely in the way they need me to.

Perhaps my conversation with God the day Skyler was born was foreshadowing his eventual autism diagnosis.

Honestly though, raising a child with special needs doesn’t change my responsibilities as his mother but instead magnifies that I’ve been entrusted with an even larger task – observing and learning more from Skyler than I could ever imagine teaching him while also caring for his every need beyond the age of eighteen.

There are an infinite number of sacrifices, emotions and celebrations that come with being a mother regardless of whether your child is neurotypical or has differing needs.

Motherhood requires that we be both a disciplinarian and friend.

Motherhood allows us to become our child’s strongest ally and loudest cheerleader.

Motherhood insists that we develop a balance between being over-protective and allowing our kids to learn valuable life lessons from making mistakes or experiencing failures.

Motherhood blesses us with the ability to broaden our skills and dabble as an expert in many different careers – playmate, teacher, chef, housekeeper, chauffer, personal shopper, nurse, both judge & jury, referee, driving instructor and loan officer.  I choose to appreciate and value these opportunities instead of dread them because once our needy little children quickly become independent adults, they willingly let us know that our services and opinions are no longer needed – except for the loan officer gig, which I doubt I will ever be allowed to retire from.

Motherhood is the hardest and most important job I have ever had but wouldn’t trade for anything.  It is the reason for my sleepless nights and wrinkles but also my endless amounts of joy and fulfillment.

Becoming a mother marks a new chapter in every woman’s story.  As one of the most sacred journeys you will travel in life, it often provides a renewed sense of strength, purpose and meaning.

For all the mothers, mother figures and those on their journey to be mothers, I have the greatest respect for you.  It takes an incredibly special and dedicated woman to raise a respectful, thoughtful and loving child who will help make the world a better place.

“God could not be everywhere. And therefore, he made mothers.” – Rudyard Kipling