(My mom with all five of us-I’m in the pigtails.)
I just wanted to share this article by Regina Brett my mom sent me. I cried when I read it.
It reminds me of my Grandma B who raised nine children and never complained. (Maybe she complained about the dog? but that was it.) And of my mom who raised five and never complained. And I’m serious-she never complained. I can count on one hand the times we had sitters. I think she went Christmas shopping by herself once a year, and maybe to a church meeting. She didn’t have burnout, she didn’t yell at us or get impatient with us. I remember the smelly diaper truck, I remember her putting meals together every single evening, I remember her after-school snacks always waiting at the little table in the kitchen. My mom didn’t have relatives to help, my Dad worked full-time and then some always.
It makes me wonder-what do we as mothers today have to complain about? What “breaks” do we need from the children? I avoid internet tidbits and “news” like the plague but when I do read something it’s all so negative when it comes to parenting. All I picture is rolling eyes and deep sighs and “Oh these kids, parenting is sooo difficult” while the buttons are pressed on washing machines, and dishwashers are loaded and a TV is turned on that has 100 channels with non-stop kids programs that can keep the kids quiet. It seems like one of the main goals of parenting these days is to get rid of the kids as quickly as possible, as early as possible. Daycare starts at six weeks (and is now called school) and real preschool starts full day at three years old and don’t forget to schedule in “me” time. When I am in the grocery store I see more grandparents with little ones (and they look tired!) than parents with little ones. Where are the mothers? Our children need us. They need us mothers to be home, they need to be home, they need to be with us, they need to be raised by their parents and we should be willing and ready and grateful, yes grateful, to do the work.
I know I’m preaching to the choir. I know too I’m guilty of deep sighs and some days I feel more than a little sorry for myself as I count the hours I’ve had to myself in months. I know I’ve complained about fixing yet another meal (as I stand in my kitchen, with a full pantry a fridge full of food and shiny appliances) and a plethora of other things for sure.
But I also know this:
I know that it is a grave mistake to mother according to the way our culture dictates we should today.
I know that we must guard our hearts (as Regina writes-“All they had was Dr. Spock and a mother’s heart to guide them.”) and choose something different than what is often chosen today, what we see and hear and read all around us-that children are an inconvenience in our life to raise-let’s fit them in and send them out and get our breaks and find some help and then complain about how difficult it all is.
What else it there to give our all to but mothering? Nothing. Nothing! Our children, even our infants, they have an innate sense of knowing where they fit into our lives and how we feel about them. We don’t owe them a beautiful house and a bunch of toys and the best schools-but we do owe them a mother’s love spelled out in hard work and time and patience and respect.
It is an honor and a gift and I am so so grateful to my mothers and my grandmothers, “The Greatest Generation of Moms” for setting an example and being an inspiration to me. I choose them-I choose them to show me the way, I choose them to inspire me, I choose their example, their red wrinkly worn hands, their attitudes, their spirit, their mother’s hearts.