On my recent trip to Trader Joe’s, I picked out a card for my mom that read, “Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.” I thought it was cute. It was the perfect amount of funny, and just the right sentiment. It is true that life does not come with instructions, but I have come to learn that motherhood doesn’t either. Moms figure it out on the fly. We give it our best, knowing that our best has highs and lows, and we hope that we don’t screw up too much. We create rules and standards that change as the kids grow and as we grow. I want to believe that moms have a universal goal to raise their kids to be decent human beings, for them to feel loved, and that all we really, really want is for them to be happy. It sounds simple enough. The truth is that I do not always know if I am doing the right thing or if I am doing the right thing right. Do I hug my son too much, or not enough? Am I too protective? Do I spend enough quality time with him? Do I show enough interest on the things he loves? Is it ok to tell him I love him all the time? Am I a good role model? Am I pushing him too much or not enough? Does he feel trusted? Does he feel loved?
As much as I want to say that I am an expert about being a mother, the truth is that motherhood taught me many things about myself. I found out that I could put another person’s needs before mine. I learned that I could live on five hours of sleep. I realized that my dreams are now dreams for two. I no longer have privacy and I am okay with it. I found out that I could be so strong and still worry all the time. I learned that I could share everything that I have and want. Motherhood has sharpened my instincts. I find very few things to be gross. I clean up poop and vomit without hesitation. I sometimes sleep on a foot-and-a-half width of space on my king size bed. I can tolerate non-stop talk about video games, the newest YouTuber, and memes. I make great Halloween costumes. I am good at finding things. I can heal pain. Vick’s vapor rub can “cure” most of my son’s ailments. My math knowledge caps at 4th grade level. I don’t have to know everything. A child’s honesty is humbling. I learned that I could learn valuable lessons from a kid.
Last week, I asked my teammates if they could write down three things they learned from their mom. I was lucky enough to get two responses out of the 11 people I asked. Both Chef Marco and Chef Eduardo wrote that their mothers taught them hard work, honesty, punctuality, and to never give up on their dreams. I took a few minutes to reflect on what Chef Eduardo and Chef Marco wrote about their moms, and how that may have influenced the men they have become. They are both hardworking and dedicated chefs, and take pride in what they do. Both chefs have been instrumental in the overall success of our team. It is obvious that they have had good foundation. The lessons from their moms stuck with them through adulthood and I have no doubt that they have taught these same lessons to their kids. I wonder what Max will say in the future when asked about what he learned from me.
Just like Chef Marco and Chef Eduardo, I also learned many things from my mom throughout my childhood and adulthood. Even now, my mom’s advice and opinions hold a lot of weight. I value what she has to say. At nearly 50 years of age, I still aim to make her proud.
I hope my son picks up mostly the good traits from my husband and me. I hope that he always remembers that he is loved, especially during the troubled times that we all experience as we grow up. I hope he continues to be brave and resilient. I hope he never ceases to be kind. I hope he finds love. I hope he pursues all his dreams.
It does not escape me that motherhood is a privilege and a gift. I am aware that being a mom doesn’t make me special, but I am special to an 11-year old boy and for that, I am thankful. I will proudly hold the title, “Max’s Mom,” for as long as I am on this earth.
I am also grateful that I no longer work those busy Mother’s Day brunches at the restaurant. I do not miss the many Eggs Benedicts or the seemingly endless tossing of Cobb salads. Nor do I miss the fear of running out of crab cakes and lobster rolls before the end of service. Serving 500 meals in 3.5 hours might have been thrilling to me at one point in my life, but I now prefer an easy Sunday morning with my only agenda item being a good cup of coffee and breakfast with my boys. I am thankful that I get to do as I wish on MY Mother’s Day.
To remember those many years fondly, I have to share with you my recipes for Lobster Roll and Bloody Mary with Bacon Salt. I hope your Sunday is spent remembering all the great lessons from your mom or someone who was your moral compass and gave you unconditional love.
Chef Marco and Chef Eduardo also shared with me the dishes that always remind them of their moms. Chef Eduardo’s mom would make Chiles en Nogada on special occasions. Chiles en Nogada is a Mexican dish of poblano peppers stuffed with classic picadillo in a walnut and almond cream sauce. This dish sounds complicated and delicious. The dish that reminds Chef Marco of his mom is ham hock and beans. This dish is a family favorite that she cooked for her family once a month. She also had a fondness for cereal, which she often ate for dinner.
Happy Mother’s Day and happy cooking!
Click HERE to download Mayet’s Mother’s Day recipes.