Before I Was a Mother
by Leah Laiben
Before I was a mother
I had a mother of my own.
She never read me stories,
she never stood her ground,
she never even picked me up
when I was feeling down.
She worked at a factory
in the middle of our small town,
at home she smoked and slept and cleaned
and played solitare til dawn.
I never understood her,
why she was the way she was,
but I know that she was tired and alone
in taking care of all of us.
Before I was a mother,
I thought, "How hard can all this be?"
I never really got it,
but now it's happening to me.
I'm different kind of mother, though--
as I'd promised myself I'd be.
I play and sing and stand my ground.
I also sit and read.
I'm surrounded by small hands and feet
and fingerprints on walls.
I cook and clean and even kiss
their boo-boos when they fall.
Milk spills and things break. These will be forgotten.
What matters more is the care I take
in the blessings I have gotten.
And as I type my children play,
not with their me or each other,
but with the woman I knew as 'Mom'
before I was a mother.
Author's Note: This was supposed to be a journal entry about what life was like before I became a mother. This is what it turned into. It came out sing-songy and nursery-rhyme-ish and I like it that way.
Posted on 12/02/2007
Copyright © 2021 Leah Laiben
|Member Comments on this Poem|
|Posted by Genevieve Sturrock on 12/03/07 at 02:04 PM|
i love this! isn't it amazing to watch our parents interact with our children and see how different they are now than we remember them growing up?
|Posted by Alison McKenzie on 12/03/07 at 06:49 PM|
My own mother was terrible as a mother, and terrible as a grandmother. But I think I finally know what it's from - from being extremely self-absorbed, and that overrides whatever instinct there may be to nurture....anyone, even one's self. I love how the perspective of this shifts, though, and how you capture the different ages and roles we end up playing in our families.
|Posted by Mo Couts on 06/06/11 at 03:32 AM|
I've started writing letters to my unborn children (I'm not even pregnant) but I don't think any of them are as awesome as this. I had a horrible mother, but I think that I'll do okay with it. Thanks for this!