Congratulations! You have the best job in the world! Some would have you believe the work you do is menial and has little reward but the truth is your rewards are scattered everywhere, sort of like the toys in your living room that probably didn't get picked up last night.
Speaking as a doula I want you to know that at the birth of your child you were given probably the most significant gift your child will ever give you. A dose of oxytocin. That chemical that bonded you to your baby and made you respond to every tiny whimper in those first months. That made you feel warm and peaceful after such hard work bringing that beautiful baby into the world. (If you didn't experience this at birth it is still possible that you have had it at some point. ..)
Those smiles. Yes every time your child looks at you with a loving smile it is a gift just for you. They start as a smile that says "I love you" before words can actually be formed in your baby's mouth, and Eventually turn into smiles of amusement because your child believes you are weird but loves it.
A bunch of hand picked dandelions. Sure they are weeds, perhaps you remember your mother telling you that is what they are when you brought her some, maybe someone else on the school yard told you. .. But once opon a time they were beautiful yellow flowers that covered your yard and now your child sees them that way and desires to share the beautiful flowers with you.
A crayon drawing (or 500 drawings of dragons) it never ceases to amaze me that my son can draw dragons as well as he can, but I shouldn't be amazed that is all he ever draws. . On the one hand I have so many paper dragons I don't know what to do with them, on the other hand this stage is short and I want to appreciate the sentiment of a hand drawn picture as long as possible.
Spontaneous hugs. My kids were trying to give me their toys as presents and I had to eventually explain that while I love that they are sharing mommy doesn't sleep with stuffed bunnies anymore, so I taught them that the best present for mommy was a surprise hug. Now they come to me with their hands hidden behind their backs looking sneaky and saying they have a surprise for me, then pouncing on me with a full body hug. It's awesome!
Finally learning that thing you have been working on forever. Don't you love that moment? They finally get it. Be it potty training, reading, walking, saying mama, whatever it is, the moment they get it is amazing.
Peaceful nights after they are asleep in their beds, or crashed on the floor next to their book shelves. Where ever those Weary heads land at night and whatever you do with that time it is great to spend it relaxing with a cup of something you love to drink, curled up on the couch thinking and reflecting on your day. The good, the bad, the ugly, the hilarious, some of them mixed all together in the same scenario. It is a time of refreshment and if you let it be, it can be a time of reward for your hard work. Happy Mother's Day!
This honestly doesn't even begin to cover the lists of rewards that our children give us for our work. Can you add your favorite reward for motherhood?