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Beauty of Motherhood

Text by: Marnie Parker

She was sophisticated and exquisite and waltzed into the room with a perfectly manicured child clutching her hand. All eyes were instantly drawn to the extraordinary couple. Both wore radiant smiles and seemed oblivious to the crowd starring at them.

Designer heels and a chic, silver, leather bag accented her tailored, plum colored dress perfectly. She wore a floppy straw hat with a dark colored sash. Who wears a floppy straw hat to breakfast in a hotel anyway? I was a stark comparison in my GAP jeans, wrinkled T-shirt, flip-flops, and bed hair. I suddenly felt very self-conscious of yesterday's make-up, which was smeared across my face. Honestly, I was just happy to have made it down to breakfast with three small children who were, at the very least, dressed before the doors closed and we missed breakfast entirely. We had been living in this hotel for the past month while looking for a home in Wiesbaden, Germany.

As luck would have it, the stylish woman in purple and her adorable daughter sat at the table next to us. Our kids hit it off immediately and chatted about everything from losing teeth to what books they were currently reading. There, amid juice boxes and Fruit Loops, we learned that their family lived in Ukraine. They were just passing through Germany on their way to Florida for a family vacation. I'm not quite sure why formal introductions were never exchanged; perhaps it had something to do with my squirmy toddler who wouldn't stay in her seat and kept bolting out the door. Or maybe it was the bowl of sticky oatmeal that was intentionally spilled all over the carpeted floor, gleaning a menacing glare from the breakfast room attendant.

© Kevin Parker Photography

As she was about to leave, my lovely new acquaintance urgently clutched my arm and said, "You really should consider a live-in nanny." She gushed about how much more time I would have to travel, spend with my husband, sleep, and take care of myself instead of taking care of the mundane daily needs of my children.

My initial thought was, "Wow, I must really look haggard this morning." However, my reply was, "I think I would miss my kids too much."

"Of course you still see your children," she continued, "but you see them when you're at your best. You would have so much more time to do the things that you really wanted to do."

With that, she was gone. She left as quickly as she had come into my life. No encounter is by chance. No exchange leaves us without commanding attention or thought. In that moment, I was forever changed. An overwhelming feeling was brewing deep inside and beginning to resurface. It had always been there, always been a part of who I am, but had been pushed aside temporarily by outside stresses and pressures of the world.

I have thought a lot about our conversation that fateful morning. Would my children be better off just seeing me at "my best"? Even at my worst, am I setting a good enough example for them, as they gain an understanding of the importance and sanctity of Motherhood? Sure, Motherhood isn't always glamorous; especially when it includes bodily functions, cleaning toilets, or temper tantrums.

Can my children see through my daily actions and attitudes to know I truly do love what I do? Do they know that I wish I had more hours in the day to pour into the shaping and molding of their precious characters?

I don't even know her name, but she had a tremendous impact on me. The answer is no. I don't think I would want a full-time, live-in nanny. I would miss out on too much. I don't want to miss a single second.

© Kevin Parker Photography

Where would I be without delightfully chubby arms wrapped around my neck, while a little voice whispers secrets into my ear? What about the sticky kisses, delightful giggles, and fingerprints on my full length mirror? I would miss the 3 a.m. wake-up calls and sweet, snuggle time that always follows when the rest of the house is still and sleeping. I would miss my eldest's contagious laugh when he finds something hilarious in a book he is reading. I would miss my baby reaching up to me with arms outstretched and saying, "Hold me." I would miss snuggling with my preschooler and scratching her back as she slowly drifted off to dreamland in sweet slumber. I would miss the tender teaching moments that come as a result of spending time with my children and experiencing life together. I would miss being a full-time Mommy.

So thank you beautiful, elegant, lady. Thank you for bringing perspective to me at a particularly stressful time in my life and reminding me of all the reasons why I love being a mother. I realize I am very fortunate to have a choice whether or not to stay home, while many other mothers do not. Personally, this feels like the right choice. I wouldn't change this time in my life for anything… not even a full night's sleep. I have plenty of time to sleep later — after graduation perhaps.