Why mom's are tough

Us mom's are some bad motha's (shut your mouth). As the saying goes in my husband's family, I am "one tough, no-can-kill sum-bitch". While that may be a little over the top, it makes my point. Moms are strong people. Why are we strong? Some say that anyone that pops a watermelon out of their hooha is tough. Some of us that didn't end up with that situation, we had whole human beings cut out of us (I think that qualifies as tough). But that still leaves out the tough mothers out there that adopted their babies. What makes us tough is that we have to be. We have to be the strong ones for our kids.
This week was a perfect and super shitty example. After an afternoon out in the field taking soil samples I got back into town around 8pm. Stuart picked me up and we headed home. On the way home he breaks the news to me. Gizmo, our beloved cat of 8 years had died. I was and still am heartbroken to have lost my furry family member. Stuart and I adopted Gizmo at 6 weeks old from the Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, TN in 2004. From the instant I held her, she had me. I loved her. She was the greatest cat in the whole universe. She was almost more dog than cat. She loved to cuddle and be in the same room as her people. I was devastated to know that never again would she try to smother me in my sleep by curling up on my chest and purring. Never again would I give her "squishy face" or see her show me her "jaws of death". Never again would she be my reason to not read whatever I should be reading for class because she was curled up smack dab in the center of my book. Never again would I smell her awesome, stinky cat breath. No more kitty yodeling, no more watching Stuart do "Bonsai Kitty" onto the bed. No more running her off of Emma's changing table. No more watching her patiently let Emma paw at her and squeal in delight. No more Gizmo. I am lost as to what to do without my favorite kitty.
Yet, in the midst of the grief I feel at losing her, life goes on. Emma still needed to be fed and take a bath and be put to bed. The dogs still needed to go outside for a walk. Diapers still needed to be washed. I know Emma is too young to really know or even care that her mommy is sad, but I still felt the need to put on a brave face for her sake. I still couldn't help but cry as I held Emma and thought about Gizmo, so I simply explained to Emma why mommy was sad. It's a tough balance between being strong for our children and still teaching them that it's okay to cry when you're sad. So I forced myself to be the example I wanted to be for Emma. Rather than wallow in my grief, I was really sad for a little while, then had to move on to just being sad. I want her to know that it's okay and normal to be really sad for a while when you lose someone you love, but that you can't be really sad forever or you may miss out on loving someone else.
That's why mom's are tough. Even though we feel like crap because we're sick or sad or hurt, we keep going because we have to. Because our children still need to eat and be loved, because our husbands are helpful but don't do things the way we do and because we want to be strong for our kids. If we freak out and shut down, that's what our children will learn to do. I want Emma to learn how to handle her emotions and feelings when they become overwhelming. I want her to know how to grieve but not give up. The world keeps moving no matter how much our hearts or bodies may hurt and so we have to just keep moving along with it.


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