Funny how life happens. Growing up, my sister and I felt as emotionally close to our mom as could be… we were all best friends (we still are). But through all the amazing memories, we still had normal “teenager moments” that I now dread for the future with my own girls: We were critical. Why is the pantry so messy?!? Why don’t we have anymore cheese in the fridge?!? Why do your outfits look like they are from the 80’s?!? (We were teenagers in the 90’s, for reference). Why can’t we repaint and redecorate our rooms again?!? (BRATS, I tell you… or, at least, brat-like behavior.)

I always remember my mom telling my sister and I “You’ll see when you grow up.” Oh, I see now Mom…. I SEE.

My pantry "spice rack." (The shame of it.)

My pantry “spice rack.” (The shame of it.)

Maybe the pantry was messy because you were too busy working and cooking dinner and ironing and washing clothes and raising kids (without a nanny doing it) that you didn’t have 2+ hours to sift through the shelves and nooks of the pantry and make it perfect beyond belief every single week. Maybe we were out of cheese because you simply forgot to buy it because you were distracted with all the worries that moms have about their kids at school or at lessons, or were wondering if you were being too strict or too lenient about our social lives and that loser guy that I liked at the time. Maybe some of your outfits seemed a little dated because you were spending YOUR money (that YOU were working for) to pay for our dance classes, singing lessons, after-school activities, cheer squad and that SAT prep course I took so that I could get into UCLA. Maybe we couldn’t redecorate our rooms over and over because you were saving money for our college educations (so that we didn’t have massive loans to pay back at the tender college graduation age of 22).

I SEE NOW, Mom. (To think, I’m spending my extra time thinking of frivolous tips like this instead of cleaning out my own pantry… the teenage-me would be disgusted.) I think I speak for many moms when I say that I appreciate my mom so much more now that I’m a mom. I always had the utmost respect and admiration for her, but NOW I GET IT. The things that must have been on her mind when I was a kid… geez… my brain is already too-full of questions, doubts, presuppositions, exhaustion, choices and decisions and my oldest isn’t even three yet! No wonder the pantry wasn’t always immaculate… I can’t even keep mine in order just a few years in! (Don’t think I don’t see your happy-snicker every time you open my cupboard doors and have to hunt for the box of graham crackers for the girls… I know, the irony is almost magical.) Since becoming a mom, I now realize that my mom was not some tireless being… she was probably a lot like me (just wanting to make each day work).

2012: My sister (w/ her baby), me (w/ my newborn), my mom (w/ my toddler), my 2 grandmothers.

2012: My sister (w/ her baby), me (w/ my newborn), my mom (w/ my toddler), my 2 grandmothers.

To take it a step further, my perception of my grandmothers has changed too. Think of it: Our grandmothers had *no choice* but to wash cloth diapers every day (I know there are some of you who willingly do it these days… I think you are all crazy-saints), cook meals without microwaves, hang clothes out to dry and were expected to look fabulous with coiffed hair & makeup (I’m assuming?) while at home doing all of these things. Again, us modern moms (i.e., ME) would panic if my dishwasher were to crap out for 24-hours. Embarrassing.

To all the moms before us – and the grandmothers too – you have my utmost love, admiration, regard, respect and fascination… you inspire me to suck it up, problem-solve and keep moving whenever I have one of ‘those’ days. Funny how motherhood can bite you in the butt. I only hope that my girls feel the same way when it’s their turn…




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