Do You Ever Stop Needing Your Mom?

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My 5-year-old son talks a lot. A. Lot. My 2-year-old daughter seems to be following in his footsteps and is growing more and more talkative by the day (especially when she is supposed to be napping). I pretty much adore about 98% of what they say, and most days I really enjoy having talkative kids. Most days. But some days, I wonder how I will keep my sanity while responding to every single tiny, crazy detail they choose to heap onto me. This morning alone, in the space of about 25 minutes, I fielded questions about every piece of food I’d served, responded to my son’s running narrative of everything his sister is doing (“Mama, she’s putting on her boots…Mama, she’s not eating her granola bar… Mama, she’s breathing”), and talked to both kids in the car about almost every building we drove by on our way to a playgroup, where I prayed they would each get distracted enough to give me a break from the chatting (spoiler alert – they didn’t).

Sometimes, when I’m in the midst of all this chatter, I find myself dreaming of a day when I might have just a bit more silence in my life. My kids will grow older and have other outlets, and while I’m sure I will miss being their main (and often only) audience for all of their thoughts and ideas, I’m also pretty sure I’ll enjoy some peace.

Or will I?

Maybe not. Just the other day I was fantasizing about a quieter future as a mother of no-longer-littles when my phone dinged with a text from my own mother – and something occurred to me. I scrolled through the recent texts I had sent her and realized – gasp! – that I am pretty regularly barraging her with the mundane details of my life. As evidence, here’s just a few of the texts I’ve recently sent her:

We’re buying a leaf blower!

M isn’t falling asleep for her nap.

M has a runny nose. Going to just stay home today.

Migraine day 3. I need a hug.

I think my period is starting. Meh.

And trust me, this list could be a lot longer. I remember when my daughter didn’t sleep at night for about 6 months straight – I texted my mother every single morning at 6 a.m. with a (probably super annoying) play-by-play of how rough the night before had been.

AND I haven’t even included all the texts asking my mom to help me with something (“Can you watch the kids so I can get a bit of work done?” “Can M hang out with you while J has a playdate?”).

Ok. So, apparently this motherhood thing, this whole captive-audience-for-your-kids’-every-thought-word-complaint thing, never stops. Apparently it won’t stop when my kids grow up. Because I grew up. I grew way up and I still send my mom all these texts.

But the really beautiful thing about scrolling through my own incessant ramblings to my mom? Her responses. Here are a few of them:

I know my weekend was full of your kids but I miss them already.

I am the luckiest Mimi in the world!

How are you feeling?

So happy you are feeling better! Have a wonderful rest of your day!

I’m very proud of you!

I share bland detail after bland detail of my life with my mom because I know she’s the only one who really, fully cares in just the way a mom does. And it hit me – that must be why my own children provide me with endless questions and ideas and complaints and arguments . . . they know I’m here to listen. It’s actually a pretty beautiful gift.


Side note: As a blog contributor, I keep a running list of possible blog topics and many of them are about my mom. How much she helps me with my kids. A list of the things I would never be able to do without her always being so willing to help. How happy I am to have made the decision to move and to raise my kids near my parents, how it fills me with joy that they call their grandparents’ house their “home away from home.” But every time I try to write one of these posts, it always falls short somehow. I’m never able to convey how I really feel about all of it. I can never get the words right. So, I’ve written this silly post about text messages. Which is kind of ironic, because text messages themselves often fall short in getting a real, true message across. But it’s the first “possible blog topic” about my mom that I was able to finish. So, I’m hoping the message is there. She’s a good mom, that lady. And I love her. A. Lot.

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Elizabeth Bettencourt holds a BFA in Theatre and a BS in Secondary English Education from the University of Rhode Island, a Masters in Reading & Literacy from Endicott College, and a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home parent full time, Liz taught English Language Arts and theatre at Plymouth South High School, where she also served as the ELA department head and the drama club advisor. Liz has also worked as an instructional coach and education consultant specializing in literacy instruction and differentiated instruction. In addition to her work as a mother, Liz currently directs theatre productions for Massassoit Community College and serves on the board of directors for New Bedford Festival Theatre. The majority of her time, however, is spent raising her son James and daughter Muriel with the help of her super supportive spouse, Matt. Liz is excited to be a part of the team at Providence Moms Blog, where she hopes to refresh her writing skills and reflect on this crazy and beautiful thing that is motherhood.