They say that to really understand a person you have to walk in her shoes. Last year I had the unique opportunity to walk in the shoes of “mommy” while my wife left the kids with me for two weeks so she could visit family. I can say without hyperbole or exaggeration that being a mom is one of the toughest jobs I have ever had. It is a 24/7 demand-fest with a side of constant questions and an extra helping of no time for me. It is behind the scenes work without much notice or recognition. Before she left, my wife made a color coded calendar with all the kids’ activities. The calendar was mostly idiot proof. I had no idea of all the things that she juggled. The calendar was a visual answer to the question “what do you do all day?” For two weeks I understood in a real way all the skills I lacked ― skills like putting a girl’s hair in a bun and eating things other than cereal for dinner.
A mom invests for the long game. Her contributions are often unseen. Her love is deposited daily in bath times, lunches, grass stains, stretched budgets, skinned knees, science fair projects, and the persistent carving of character like a river through a canyon. The impact of her accomplishments must be seen from a distance to be fully appreciated.
My time as Mr. Mom made me understand that you never repay your mom for all she did. You merely pay it forward to the next generation. I have a lot of paying to do.