The best mother’s are the ones who don’t make their children feel guilty about Mother’s Day!
The old days are gone when I had to feign sleep so my kids could surprise me with breakfast in bed. The joy on their faces – the pride in their smiles – that was the real gift – the breakfast was simply a symbol. It was about them – not me! Now my girls are teens, and I awake and enjoy the solitude of a Sunday like many others – dishes in the sink, a ton to be done around the house, an aging me who has to force myself into the sunshine to exercise, kids and husband who will sleep until 10 or 11, and no expectations for the day. I don’t expect my girls to understand what it’s like to be a mother, and I don’t expect them to make me into some stupid super hero from which they expect perfection. That would be just too much for me, and a big disappointment for them.
I loved my mom; this is the second May she’s been gone. I don’t remember her ever making me feel guilty about not doing much on this holiday. Maybe that is because we didn’t need this day to make our relationship feel special or complete. Some days our relationship simply wasn’t special or complete. If your mom lives long enough, my guess is that there are a lot of days, months or years, when that relationship is less than beautiful. Moms are human beings; they all make mistakes.
I often wonder about the saying, “Honor thy Mother.” What if your mom isn’t honorable? What if your mom is selfish or mean or God forbid thinks of herself before her children. I’ve been mean and selfish and self-centered, AND I’m a mom. I don’t always put my children first. I don’t live my life for them. I think that would make me really miserable, and then I’d resent them, and be a terrible mom! I hope I teach my children that it’s okay to be mean and selfish and self-centered sometimes. Even if it isn’t okay – you will still be mean, and selfish and self-centered sometimes. Just love yourself anyway! I want them to know it is okay to figure out who they are and be true to that even if others (especially mom) doesn’t agree with them. I want them to know we can argue passionately about these very important things and at the end of the day still love each other. Mostly I want them to know it’s okay to take care of their own needs before others. Women have been told to take care of everyone and everything except themselves – I want to stop that madness! Put the oxygen on yourself first, then help others with their oxygen.
I often see people telling children, “well she is your mother.” Do you really want your children to love someone unconditionally and be bullied into some obligatory relationship? I do not want that. I see it so often when people are taking care of aging parents. They feel they can’t complain or be angry. Taking care of the dying SUCKS!! It only doesn’t suck if you are mentally incapable of feeling authentic feelings. And then it sucks in other ways and for those who have to deal with your misdirected anger. Usually those folks project their anger onto others: they get angry at siblings who can’t help as much or their own children whose needs can’t possibly be met while caring for the dying. When in truth – we are angry at our dying mom. And that is okay. I was angry. . .and I cared for her anyway. But I also asked for help, and I got help. I wasn’t only angry and it wasn’t always sucky, it was the full catastrophe. It was love, and hate, and awe, and fear, and compassion.
Love is not perfect – not even the love of a mother. . . or the love of a daughter. The best thing my mom gave me was the ability to know that I didn’t have to be perfect. That I could disappoint her and she me, and we still loved. When I die – I don’t want my girls putting my face up on social medai asking the world to bow down to their perfect, holy mother. Jeez – that would be so gross! I want them to say something like, “My mom taught me it was okay to say Fu#k to people we love. Because if they love us back – they will get over it!”
My daughter posted this on my Facebook wall. Enjoy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/07/thank-you-mom-not-what-you-were-expecting_n_5254550.html
Happy May 11th! Enjoy!