Today is Mother’s Day. I am a mom, and I am lucky enough to still have my mother with me. I don’t have many memories of Mother’s Day from when I was a child other than to go to my grandmother’s house and take her flowers. I was too young to realize that although we honored my mother’s mother, we really didn’t honor our mother. I don’t remember any complaints from her for this oversight. She was happy with the little cards we made for her at school. She was Mom, and like many children, we took advantage of that and didn’t know how lucky we were to have her in our lives.
I used to complain how she would curl my hair in rags every night, and force me to wear frilly dresses. Of course I was a tomboy, so she always had a fight on her hands with the frills and curls. Three hot meals a day was the norm in our house. Everyone’s needs came first. I never thought as to how she probably would have preferred to spend her time reading a magazine or relaxing in a nice hot tub. She was a 1950’s mom, a stay at home mom, a Donna Reed kind of mom.
I am a mom with six wonderful kids- all grown with kids of their own. I remember Mother’s Day when they were growing up. I had gifts of sprouted bean plants in fancy paper cups, and cards carefully drawn and colored with lots of “I love yous” on them. Their dad always bought me marigolds to plant- never my favorite- but flowers just the same. They would help me plant them in the garden.
When I go way back, I remember my first Mother’s Day with my baby girl. Her dad bought me a rocking chair I had wanted desperately so I could cuddle and hold her. What a wonderful feeling that was to rock her to sleep. I was the happiest young mom around. I felt blessed for what I had been given. I loved being her mom so much that I wanted more children.
When the second was born, I was so in love with the first, I wondered how could I love the second as much as the first. I needn’t have worried. I had plenty of love to go around. That is how a mother’s heart works. No matter how many children, there is always enough. I had six wonderful kids- trying at times, but the love never stops, the concern never stops no matter their age. They are all gifts, all little packages we mothers unwrap over the years. We watch them unfold in their talents, their personalities, their joys and sorrows. Our pride in them never wanes.
I have never been the kind of mom my mom was. When the children were very small- the first four of them, I didn’t work. I was a PTO mom, a “rah rah” mom when the kids started tee ball or asked if I would come to the school and help out for field trips and fun things to do the school was offering.
As the family grew, the expenses did as well. I had to go to work. I juggled my work schedule with my be at home schedule, but I no longer was a stay at home mom, a three meals a day mom. I have always regretted that, but I have no apologies for it. Financial responsibilities grew as the children did. With our big brood,two working parents were necessary to keep the family going. From the youngest to the oldest, my kids had to clean their own rooms, do their part in chores to help me keep the house going. I wasn’t always there like my mom was to bandage a boo boo or have a mother/child talk when there was hurt or confusion in their lives. To this day it saddens me that my kids were on their own a lot when I worked. The older ones cared for the younger ones. Being “mom” often caused a lot of arguments and resentments from them.They cared for each other when I should have been there. I had always worried that they would feel abandoned or hurt that I wasn’t there all the time. I hoped they knew I loved them, despite my working outside the home. I wasn’t totally absent; but life in our household changed. Looking back I am full of regret and am sorrowful for not being that mom who was always there.
Today, I have bittersweet memories when our home gradually turned into a “zoo” while I tried to juggle back and forth from working mom to a stay at home mom. I was no Donna Reed. My children survived, but without some scars of me not being there.
I am proud to say, that all of my children are grown and successful adults with children of their own. My daughters have loving relationships with their children. My sons are great dads to their children. My one son, raises his daughter alone, and she is a smiling happy little girl. My other son is a wonderful uncle to his siblings kids.
There is a lot to be said for being an “at home mom.” For the young mothers of today, if it’s possible, stay home, be a mom to your kids. There is no more important job in the world than being a mom to your children.
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