There’s something about being a mother that makes honoring your own mother on mother’s day different. I’m fortunate that I’ve had my mom, who bears witness to my youth, around to be a spectator as I raise my daughters. She reminds me about things from the past that I’ve forgotten and reinterprets situations that perhaps I’ve remembered differently. As I go full circle, moving from participant to observer, karmicly reliving my youth through my daughters, I appreciate and respect my mom so much more.
I know that to some, Mother’s Day is simply a holiday created by the card and gift people to make money and guilt folks into spending theirs. Perhaps. But on a deeper level, Mother’s Day and subsequently Father’s Day, next month may be the only important holidays that we need to be celebrating, for if you fuck up your parenting job, then none of the other stuff matters.
It’s true. Many of the assholes that you know today are they way they are because of how they were parented. You can see a direct correlation between a parent’s failure and their child’s shitty decisions. Some screwed up from being too lenient. Others from being too strict. Some simply ignored their children, placing them behind their own needs and desires. Every day you hear a story about another parent failing their child and you know that eventually this child will grow into an adult someday and become your problem.
Just this morning I was reading about a man, Danny Dove, that was arrested for keeping his wife and kids hostage in his house for four years. The kids had been living amongst maggots and their own feces while the mom had been basically drugged for that last 96 months. When interviewed this man’s mother blamed her daughter in law. Apparently her son wasn’t the problem it was her daughter-in-law that hasn’t been lucid since 2003 that caused all the problems.
Hmmm…$20 bucks says that Danny’s mom was a shitty mom. She was the mom with the son that NEVER did anything wrong. His crappy grades were the fault of a lousy teacher, his poor athletic ability was due to a coach that didn’t see his potential and when the neighbor complained about little Danny egging his house, I’m almost certain she claimed that it was Danny’s friends that were responsible. Danny was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sure he was.
The reason parenting is so difficult is because more than anything it requires balance. You must fiercely support your child while making her completely accountable for her actions. You build her up only to knock her down with a fresh slap of reality as needed. You tell her how great she is while pushing her to do her best at all times in spite of her greatness. You make her strong yet vulnerable, confident yet humble. It’s this ying and yang of motherhood that causes all the problems because you can’t teach balance unless you are balanced and lets face it, most of us aren’t.
The greatest gift I have received from my mother is my bluntness. Luckily for me she balanced that by also giving me her humor and I must say it’s these traits that I use the most. Everyday I speak my truth and by making people laugh I don’t offend the hell out of everyone. This gift has made my life so much easier. Because most know that I’ll call them on their bullshit, people tend to be straight with me or leave me alone, thus it was a freeing gift to receive.
After having 11 years of mothering under my belt I truly believe that the best mothers are those that are students of the process. What I love about my own mom is that she’s always open to new ideas and theories about life. She’s not an old dog by any means, but she’s certainly been taught new and exciting tricks over the years. Because she isn’t rigid regarding her outlook on life, she’s never told me how to think. In fact she’s always supported my own quest for knowledge, helping me to relax and accept that as a parent, when I know better, I’ll do better because sometimes you have to completely screw up before you can pick the proper path.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you. And to all the moms out there, have a great day.