On this Mother’s Day weekend I want to wish all of you who are mothers a great, love filled day. Being a mother is the hardest job in the world as well as the most rewarding. On the other side of the coin, it can also be the most heartbreaking.
Mothers’ Day brings up so many emotions for many of us. If our child or children don’t acknowledge us on that day does it mean we were not a good mother? What is it that makes a good mother? I can remember in the early years of my first marriage, the greatest insult my husband could hurl at me was to proclaim “You are just like your mother”. Then the fight was really on.
I had a very difficult relationship with my own mother for far too many years. I was so grateful that our relationship was finally mended long before her passing. Mom was raised in Germany while Hitler was in power and had all the warmth and nurturing ability of a rock. But was she a good mother? Absolutely! I made certain to let her know. What I received from her was a desire to do it differently with my children. To balance the strength and independence she instilled in us with love and compassion. I probably already mentioned that when I was 10 I started looking for my adoption papers being certain that these people couldn’t possibly be my real parents. I think lots of kids feel that way growing up. Mom used to threaten me when I had done something to upset her that she was going to send me away to boarding school. I kept wondering what it was I had done so wrong and how could I do it again. I’d have my bags pack in a heartbeat. I think it took the wind out of her sails that I was looking forward to being sent away. Moms, don’t make idle threats. I know I drove her nuts and when my daughter went through adolescence, yup, she got even with me. Nothing new under these stars.
I’ve apologized to my children many times for my inadequacies as a parent. Mom didn’t have a book of directions that came with the four of us and I didn’t get one with my kids. There are no directions. We are flying by the seat of our pants. I used a lot of tough love and hugs. Mom couldn’t hug till she was quite advanced in years and you could tell she was uncomfortable but stretching herself. Dad didn’t hug either so they were a matched set. Mom created in me strength so many only wish they had. I shine in emergencies, never getting rattled until the crisis is over. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I have seen every kind of mother imaginable. We’ve all seen the over-indulgent, permissive moms. Thank goodness I didn’t get one of those. I’d rather have the rock, thank you very much. Then there are the moms with a mean streak a mile wide who are totally overwhelmed by parenthood and lash out with a loud slap or an arm grab and shake. They didn’t get a how-to book either and were probably raised the same way so that’s what they know to do. I’ve met moms who love enough to let their child go to a family that’s better able to care for their child. I have also met moms who gave away or used their children for the price of a fix. When you look back at their history, no one seemed equipped to be a parent.
So how do you tell if you are a good mom? Well, I guess if your children are willing to let you live with them while recovering from a long-term illness, that’s a good sign. This Bells Palsy of mine has tested all my relationships. I am fortunate that both my children and my sister who was a child of my heart have all stepped up willingly to help me heal. They have been there for me through 2 divorces as well. They are strong, independent thinkers with huge hearts and always give it to me straight just like I gave it to them growing up. I don’t need anything else to know I’m wished a happy mother’s day. I was able to be there for my mother and I miss that rock every single day. I think I also found the book. It was in my heart all along and there was a happy ending.
From my heart to yours,
Most mothers are instinctive philosophers. ~Harriet Beecher Stowe