There are countless moments that fill a mother with pride--first step, soccer games, music recitals, etc. But it's not until your children become young adults that you see who they will be as husbands and wives. Last week my 17 year old son asked me if I was free at 3pm the next day. I asked him why. He hugged me and said he wanted me to meet someone. Ah, it's about a girl. 
"What's her name?" I asked.
"Jamie." he responded, softly.
"I'd love to meet her."
They were early, me a little late. I met them at the new Wagamama in the East Village. As I arrived my son hugged me and whispered "You're so late!" I was less than ten minutes late but it was clearly an important occasion for him. They sat across from me, holding hands under the table.
Jamie is the third of my son's girlfriends whom I've met and I'm proud to say that I've liked all of them tremendously, hickies and all. They are all schoolmates, which I love. They are sweet and kind and smart beautiful and clearly adore my boy, as they should.
Watching my son be a boyfriend is magical. He's affectionate and adorable and respectful. I asked another girlfriend if he opened doors, walked on the curb side of the street and she said
"Yes! He does all that! He said you taught him that."
I have always said that I am raising my children to be kind and benevolent leaders and part of that is being an amazing partner. I left the restaurant and patted myself on the back.
"Yeah, Sophia, sometimes you can be a really shitty mother, but today showed you that you're doing a great job."




I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's the hardest and most important and most rewarding job I've ever had. My kids are my everything. If you've never met my kids and seen me mother then you only know half of me. My moments of greatest joy, innermost fear, and deepest shame stem from motherhood.

Becoming a mother changes you forever. The moment my first was born I knew I would die for my children and kill for them without hesitation. If you threatened my kids I would summon my 20 years of Shaolin kung fu training and obliterate you. I would grab the nearest anything as a weapon: I would fucking asphyxiate you with a bagel, eviscerate you with a chopstick, slice your jugular with a Metrocard. 

During my first MIT lecture a wonderful young Indian woman expressed frustration at the fact that her parents didn't understand why she wanted to go into music instead of medicine. I gave her the perspective of a mother and a daughter. A parent's primal and primary responsibility is the safety and well-being of your children. Happiness comes second. I asked her to empathize with her parents: they left their families, friends, country, culture, language, everything, to come to America not for themselves, but for their children. And to them, her choice seemed fundamentally unsafe. I now understand and respect why my mother, once I'd moved to New York, kept asking me to come back and get an MBA if I wanted to be in business. That was the safe path to her. And I love my parents for supporting me through all my endeavors and hustles 2500 miles away.

And don't get it twisted: being a mother is fucking hard. I ran into an old acquaintance once and we were discussing parenthood. I said how difficult it was and she said "Really? I don't find it hard at all. I think it's amazing and wonderful!" Bitch, shut the fuck up. If you don't find motherhood hard then you're not doing it right. And in that moment I remembered why her fake ass and I were never friends. It is herculean hard but the rewards are olympian.

Motherhood forces you to grow and give and love in ways that were before inconceivable. My children are my pride and joy and they taught me that the my heart is capable of insurmountable love. They are god's gift to me and in turn, I offer them humbly as my gift to the benign universe.


The Washington Post recently published an article about the self-care of parents. “Maintaining the basic day-to-day with no extraordinary circumstances, keeping all those balls in the air, is a really demanding endeavor, and it leaves very little time for moms to be able to have fun, relax, rest and have downtime." 

I remember when I got pregnant for the first time, a friend and mother of four said "Every day you need to take an hour out for yourself. I don't care what you do: go for a walk, take a bath, read a magazine, just do it alone." I accepted the advice kindly but didn't truly appreciate it until my son was born. Nothing, and I mean NADA, can prepare you for your first child. I don't care how many books you read, movies you've seen, mothers you know, babies you've been around, until you are in the driver's seat, the road isn't real.

Between nursing, sleep deprivation and moments of shock--"is that really my baby?!"--and dealing with all the fucking paraphernalia, the two minute walk around the corner to K-Mart was like going to Hawaii. No one really talks about how physically bound you ARE to your child, especially if you're nursing. So to get away between feedings and stealing a moment during naps was so freeing. 

I am a staunch believer that the mother must take care of herself before everyone else. If I'm not in the best condition--physically, emotionally, spiritually--then I'm not the best mother I can be. It's part of why I work out with such zeal. In kung fu we call it "dong chan," or moving meditation. That time is all about me me me. Now that my kids are teenagers, I have more free time and I cherish it. I love the nights when I can be with friends or a lover or alone, lying on the couch eating Trader Joe's potato chips and watching Netflix.

Of course as a mother I'll do everything for my children and kill someone with my bare hands if he or she threatens my progeny, but short of something extraordinary, I will not sacrifice my well being in the name of maternal martyrdom. I love my children too much not to love myself.