Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I am sure many of us are spending at least a few minutes reflecting on our memories of our mothers and/or our experiences with our children as they were growing up. Hopefully most of those memories are good ones and bring smiles to our faces.

Parenting is difficult. Motherhood does not come naturally although I think most people believe it should. Most often, all we have to draw on once we have a child are our own experiences of growing up and being “mothered”. I grew up in a rather chaotic household, youngest of four. My widowed grandfather lived with us and needed much care. My mother worked full time when I entered elementary school, my father had his own business, my mother was probably going through menopause during my early teen years – there was much screaming and yelling. I can only imagine the difficulties and rough periods my parents had to overcome during this time. There was not a lot of nurturing, vacations or ball throwing in the backyard.

My parents were raised to never question an adult’s decision and never to ask why. Women didn’t talk about menopause, and my parents would never share their concerns with us or talk about how they were feeling. It was “do as you are told or else…”

My philosophy on parenting was to treat your child like you would have liked to be treated. I tried to create an environment where Lauren could grow confidently; knowing she was loved, that she was beautiful and that she could do anything she put her heart and mind to. I spoke to her in a way to enable some understanding of what was going on around her, not treating her as a child, but not as an adult – as a person. She was also taught how to be responsible for herself by being independent. This last trait was something my mother instilled in me.  I always loved being a mother. It was never a chore.

Today I am also thinking of my surrogate mother, Louise, the mother of my oldest and dearest friend, who I called "mom". On Sunday mornings I would go to her house (skipping church), and she would prepare breakfast for the family. In an electric frying pan she would cook a load of bacon and then fry eggs – over – in the bacon grease. She taught me to eat a fried egg on top of a piece of toast, which to this day is the only way I will eat an egg. I lost my taste for eggs when my mother forced me to eat a scrambled egg until I threw up. Louise was always there to commiserate with when I would have screaming battles with my parents.

So how do we celebrate mothers? Many feel that Mother’s Day is a Hallmark celebration; I tend to agree with this. Yet again, things get blown out of proportion. Instead of true appreciation for what it takes to maintain a household, especially today, and raise a healthy family, the day becomes an obligation to buy gifts, go out for a pre-fixed menu dinner and compare notes with your friends about what you got. And, why should appreciation be limited to one day?

A group of us discussed this at lunch yesterday, and the consensus was that at least naming a day for mothers serves as a reminder that we are here, for better or worse because of those who raised us; of our obligation to our own children; and to those who for many reasons leave the bulk of parenting responsibilities to one person in the household (be it mother or father), that they should be thanked and celebrated.

So to all of you who are responsible for caring for a child, Happy Mother’s Day!

It has been a very busy week, so my blog is very late. Thierry is on Curlew getting her ready for the sailing season. I am not really sure what I have been doing, but haven’t been home much. I began a volunteer project this week which will continue for a few months – working with a non-profit dance group on board development. I spent a night at L&M’s which was like a mini-vacation. We pampered ourselves with massages yesterday, and today my sister Jean and Lauren are preparing dinner for 18-20 – final tally not in. It has been another wonderful week.

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