Being the smiling mom

My mom has a beautiful smile the comes easily.  When I was growing up, I even had friends remark about how it seemed like my mom was always smiling.  Truthfully, there were times in my grumpy adolescence where it annoyed me.  But then again, there were times in my adolescence when everything annoyed me no matter what.  (Man, I dread that stage with my kiddos.)

My mom continues to have a beautiful smile now with her grandkids as she did for my brother and I growing up.

My mom’s smile was always there.  It still is.  I didn’t give it a second thought as a kid.  Now as a mom myself, I’ve been thinking about the power of a smile in the lives of my children.  When I smile at them, they smile back.  When I smile at them, I’m communicating happiness.  When I smile at them, I’m letting them know they aren’t a bother or a burden.  And that is exactly what I want them to know.

My children aren’t a bother or a burden.  Changing countless diapers throughout the day, wiping noses, making food, playing pretend games, reading books, driving to preschool and back, giving baths, removing fuzz from baby mouths and so much more isn’t a burden.  Well, it shouldn’t be.  Sometimes I get caught up in myself.  Sometimes I get caught up in what I’d really like to be doing like napping, reading a grown-up book or watching a show not on Disney Junior.  Sometimes I even get caught up in the chores I’d like to be able to do in peace from unloading the dishwasher without the baby trying to help or finishing the laundry (which is in the garage) without worrying what the baby is getting into inside.  Then I get grumpy.  Then I start to think of my motherhood tasks of burdensome.  Then I don’t smile.

That’s not the kind of mom I want to be.  I don’t want to be sighing every time my children ask me for something with words or actions.  I don’t want to be rolling my eyes all the time that they need one more thing in my already busy day.  I don’t want to huff around the house irritated because I’m not getting done what I wanted to get done.  I want to be the happy, smiling mom who makes her kids feel secure that they can ask for help when they need it because she will always be there.  I want my children to know the treasures they are to me.  I want to honor the role of motherhood that God has blessed me with.

And so I smile.  I don’t know if this is why my mom smiled.  I think partly she inherited her easy smile and gentle attitude from my grandpa who was such a loving, kind-hearted man with a terrific smile.  And I think partly she enjoyed being a mom.  I see the light that sparks in her even now when she’s with her grandchildren.  She gets excited to give them baths or change their diapers.  I’m not at that level, yet, and probably won’t be until I’m a grandma myself.  But, I do want to be the smiling mom for my children.  I have learned that smiling, even when I don’t always feel like it, often lifts my spirits.  Sometimes being the smiling mom on the outside allows me to become the smiling mom on the inside.  You know on those days when everybody has needed something all day and you were up multiple times the night before with different kiddos at different times for different reasons.  That’s when I need the power of a smile to lift my spirits and remind me that this really is a blessed task I have been given.  And that it is a task I will one day miss.

For now I’m just going to keep smiling, even and maybe especially at times I don’t really feel like it.  Maybe one day my kids’ friends will comment about it.  They’ll probably roll their eyes, but that’s OK.  In spite of themselves, they’ll at least know how loved they are.

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