Eva Mendes on Mother’s Day: “I Haven’t Earned My Stripes” (But, Actually, We All Have)

In an interview with “Access Hollywood Live” on Tuesday, May 5, actress and new mom Eva Mendes said she plans to focus on her own mom this Sunday, in honor of Mother’s Day. And while that’s a totally legit plan, the next thing she said baffled me.

“I kind of feel like I haven’t quite earned my stripes yet in a way,” Mendes said. “She’s seven months [old].” 

Say what?

I have no idea what my husband is planning for my first Mother’s Day, but I do know this: I want something. A note, a nap, breakfast that I can enjoy while it’s still hot (preferably with coffee, also hot) — I’m not picky. Sure, my own mom will receive flowers, a meal, and something sweet from my daughter. But five months into this whole mothering game (plus nine months of pregnancy), I think I’ve totally earned my stripes, too. Bring on the roses, mimosas, and lack of chores, please. Here are five reasons — one for every month that my baby girl has been here — why I’ve earned some Mother’s Day love:

1. Pregnancy
I shouldn’t really have to explain this one, but we can start with five-plus months of vomiting (“morning” sickness AKA all-day sickness didn’t end in my first trimester!) and end with feet and legs so swollen and deformed I actually called my ob-gyn office at 3 a.m. around week 38 because I was sure I had a blood clot. Or was otherwise dying. Sprinkle these physical joys with a lack of sushi, fried eggs, lunch meat, Advil, wine, and anything else that makes me feel like a human; yeah, I’d say pregnancy definitely earned me a Mother’s Day stripe.

2. Labor and delivery 
I’m not sure about Eva, but those 20 hours were definitely not the most comfy of my life. From the onset (whether it happens at home or, like me, you’re induced, you know when the contractions are real) to the height of things, wow. I still don’t know how I did it. Whether you had the distinct joy of pushing or got stuck with a C like me, getting the kid out is no walk in the park. And afterward. Sigh. Nothing like a pair of mesh undies and a room full of nurses and family members urging me to pee to make me feel awesome. Definitely a stripe there, too.

3. The newborn phase
Stinging, leaky nipples. Screaming baby. Terrified husband. Steady stream of soupy poop diapers and the mental cha-ching of the depleted bank account each time I tossed another one into the trash. Really? Are there enough diapers in the world for my baby alone? Then there’s the constant, crushing knowledge that a tiny, defenseless human was completely reliant upon me for survival. Yes, I took lots of pictures and no, I wouldn’t trade those first few weeks of bonding with my daughter for anything in the world. But stripes. All of the stripes for getting through the newborn phase.

4. Sleep-training & teething
Oh yes, how well these two things get along. It seems the instant I got the whole mom thing down with my newborn, she was no longer a newborn. The very moment she sized into her 0-3 month ensembles, a whole new host of challenges arrived. Not sure if Eva enlisted help or what, but I think I deserve a medal of honor for getting my two-month-old on a sleep schedule. And then re-inventing it every subsequent two weeks or so, as she wakes up certain mornings and decides that she is going to be a totally new baby with an entirely separate set of issues, like the stubborn, aching teeth that threaten her bottom gums morning, noon, and night. Nothing like a sleep-deprived, teething five-month-old to earn me a stripe.

5. Plain old being a mom
From the moment I saw two lines on the stick, I’ve been a mom. A sleepy, weepy mess of a mom who loves that then-speck and now-squirmy infant more than anything in the world. With a child who’s only 5 months old, I definitely have years of learning and tons of experiences ahead that will strengthen my mom-clout. But this Mother’s Day, I think I’ve earned enough stripes to deserve a little something. Then again, I’m totally cool if that little something is an hour on the couch with the family that turned me into a mom in the first place.

Photo: Getty