During a recent family vacation to Myrtle Beach, I was changing Baby M’s diaper in the back of our SUV. A man walking in the parking lot saw me, smiled and said “It’s a Thankless Job, isn’t it?  Happy Mother’s Day!”  I just kind of smiled back.  After he left, I wished I had said no, it’s not a Thankless Job at all – I have two great children.

This led me to wonder – Is Motherhood a Thankless Job?  Well, it definitely has its thankless moments.  It’s not exactly like your typical job.  I don’t have a boss that pats me on the back or gives me a raise when I do a great job.  And when Little E is throwing a fit and I am putting him in time out for the 4’th time in 1 hour, he doesn’t stop, look at me with a smile and say “Mommy, you are doing such a great job.  I know you are teaching me a lesson so that I will grow up to be a productive member of society.  Super Nanny would be Proud!”  No, I have yet to hear that!  So, technically speaking, I guess it is a thankless job.

But, I am thanked in so many other ways.  No matter what kind of day we have had, I must tell Little E dozens of times a day that I love him.  I often ask him how much does Mommy love him and he replies with “This Much!”  and spreads his arms out.  I say this often and hope this catches on as one of the cute things we say to each other as he grows up. Maybe he calls me one day from college when he is having a bad day.  As we end the conversation, I say “Little E, you know how much I love you.”  And he says, “Yep, this much.” (Key the sickly sweet music and the one tear falling from the Mother’s eye).  Ok, Ok, one too many Lifetime movies, not likely to happen.  I can dream.

Anyway, Little E was having a sleepover at his Nana’s house and as he went to bed he said “I miss my Mommy.  My Mommy loves me this much.”  Awww, my heart melted when my Mom told me this.  I mean it’s sinking in.  Of course he knows I love him, but I just love that he reassured himself of it when he was missing me and our little cutesy phrase means something to him.  I interpret this as “Job well done, Mom.”

Baby M is way too young to say anything close to a thank you.  But, her smiles melt my heart.  She is a great sleeper and I have taught her from very early on to be able to put her self to sleep.  This isn’t to say I never rock her to sleep or let her take naps with me (probably starting a bad habit here, but who cares!).  But, she is really great at going to sleep on her own.   Yesterday, I laid her down and she was tired but just kept crying. I held her hand and starting singing “Your Are My Sunshine.”  She stopped crying and looked at me with those big eyes and gave me a little smile, closed her eyes and soon went to sleep.  She needs me, she’s attached to me, I must be doing a good job!  Thanks mommy!

So, I have decided to not look at motherhood as being thankless.  I will find my thanks amidst the dirty diapers, temper tantrums and 5 loads of unfolded laundry.  I may have to dig deep some days, but I’ll keep looking.