Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day Angst

I was lucky. I had a really great mom. The downfall of that was that I had a sucktastic, mostly absent, dad. Because my mom was overly busy busting her hump to get those proverbial ends to get to know each other (ends meeting wasn't really an option), I missed out on a ton of time with my really great mom. It didn't mean she was less great, just that I was robbed of time by my sucktastic dad. Happy ending is, I was doubly lucky in that I had my grandmother, who became as influential in my life as my mom was. I lucked out even more, because in my life were other women who helped my mom pick up the slack of life. Some were her friends, some were my friends' moms, but they all shaped me into the mom I am today.

On Facebook, this article has been going about, heralding about how recognition of moms on Mother's Day can make those who had crap moms, or those who wish they were moms, or even gals who never wanted to be moms feel lesser than the rest of their peers. I call it hogwash. Mothering is, without a doubt in my mind, the hardest, dirtiest, most vexing thing I have ever done or will ever hope to do. The rewards are enormous, but it keeps me up at night, even when kids aren't knocking at my door with an illness, a bad dream, or a trip to the bathroom gone wrong. It's back breaking, mind numbing, frustrating, and it's all done in a society that thinks it can weigh in whenever it wants to tell us we're doing it wrong. Damn right I want recognition! I want my holiday! Shower me with adoration! I need it at least ONE day a year!

One of the other things the author of the piece, Anne Lamott, doesn't really see, even though she mentions having many others who acted as mothers in her life, is that asking mothers to stand in a church setting isn't just about recognizing moms. It's about letting everyone else know who they can go to in their time of need. Because the great moms? They're like a never-ending hug. They're the people who always have room for one more kid at the table, usually not their own. They're the ones you can count on to hold your hand, pull you close when you cry and stroke your hair, whispering it will all be okay. Real moms don't have to even give birth. Some mother their communities, some are just those people who see a need and step in without a second thought to their needs. We need those people to appear in our lives, and miraculously they do, because that's what moms do. For those of us whose mothers are gone? We miss them, but Mother's Day doesn't signal an endless well of grief. It marks a day when we have lovely memories of celebrating Mother's Days in the past.

The thing is, we need a network of mothers. No one is a perfect mom. If you breastfed or didn't breastfeed your kids, if you can or can't go to every event, if you're single or married, if you're a step-parent, an adoptive parent, or a biological parent, no one person can cover all the experiences of mom. Me? I'd rather gouge out an eye than do another craft project, but I can cook up a storm of favorite meals, and I do a mean living room dance party. If I'd only had my mom, I would never have learned to cook, to camp, to fish. My mom taught me a lot, but she didn't teach me any of those things.

If you're lucky enough to have a mom to give a card to--even if she's not "your" mom--try listing all the things you know how to do because of her, then thank her. Then go out and mother someone else. Everybody needs a mom sometimes.

No comments:

Post a Comment