May 7, 2011

Mother's Day: Celebrating the Imperfect Mom

This year, like every year, I think a lot about motherhood with regard to my mom and the kind of mom I want to be. So many of my ideas of motherhood and being a woman come from the woman who gave birth to me and spent her life loving me and doing her best to raise me according to her conscience.

But, let me tell you, my mom was so not the perfect mother. As I was growing up, she was often bossy and temperamental. It was her way or the highway and frequently she was unable to see life from the other person's point of view. She also tended to call me at the most ridiculous hours of the morning - before my alarm clock rang. Grrrrr...!! Talk about annoying! Then, there were the times she really let me down when I thought I needed her most.

In short, my mom was not perfect! 'Cause, you know, no mother is. There is no "Complete Guide to Perfect Mothering" that we can follow. Not only do I make many of the same mistakes my mom made, I have a whole set of my own that I'm sure my girls will call up someday when they're sitting in their therapist's office, wondering at the miracle that they made it through childhood with me as a mother. I definitely find myself losing my cool much too frequently - but it's hard not to when you find that your two year old has taken off her poopy diaper (AGAIN!) and is running around without one. Ugh. Sorry for the visual but it's just where I am right now.

On the flip side, my mom also spent her whole life learning how to love me and my sisters and really, everyone who crossed her path.

She became an expert on me and every one of my four sisters. And, like it or not, she was right a majority of the time. No wonder she felt she could give us unsolicited advice 24 hours a day! She constantly told my sisters and I that she loved us completely and that we could do anything we determined to do. She and my dad loved each other and stayed together for over thirty years. Mom was a true friend - the kind you can call in the middle of the night and know she'd answer and come.

To contribute to the household income, mom worked more than full time as a music teacher. Teaching wasn't just her job, it was her passion. She loved her students and as she did with us, strove to teach them character and commitment along with musicality. When she did anything, she threw herself into it completely. She believed that a life of service to others was a life well-lived.

Her life was definitely well lived. Mistakes and all, she was a person of good intentions and she exceeded the mark more often than not. Her life often gives me food for thought as I travel my own path through life. And, as an adult and a mom myself, I love and appreciate her more and more each day.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to tell my mom "Happy Mother's Day!" face to face this year because she died of cancer 5 years ago. While I believe we don't just end after death and that she can still see and hear me, there are really no words to describe the ache that her physical absence creates in my heart. I thought my mom would be around a lot longer, both to love me and to drive me crazy when she became an old lady.

But this post isn't something I'm writing so you'll feel sorry for me. Nope. So - don't. I had a full life of memories with my mom. But, I do wish that I had appreciated her more when she was still here. I wish I'd made more time for her. I wish I'd been more understanding about what she'd sacrificed for us and how she loved us. She was just like me - doing her best to love and care for her family and live a meaningful life of service.

This weekend I hope, if you haven't already, you'll see your mom with new eyes. Because while some have mothers who don't deserve respect or honor, most moms are just human and need our love and friendship. This weekend, put yourself in your mom's shoes. Don't just see her as your mom. See her as a woman, a young lover, a young mom trying to figure out how to balance life and parenthood. See her in her career and as a friend.

Start to realize your mom is pretty stinkin' awesome. Then, remind yourself that with everything else she does, she's your mom. Love her for it and learn to be her friend. Don't just celebrate her on Sunday but cherish every moment you have with her. Realizing she won't always be there might just give you a new ability to love her just as she is.

By the way, I won't be alone this weekend. Along with my sweet little girls and handsome love, I'll be celebrating the good friend and amazing grandparent I am blessed to have in my mother-in-law. There will be a lot of laughter and fun as all the kids race around screaming joyfully. And somewhere in the chaos, I'll find a quiet moment to whisper a Happy Mother's Day to someone who I know is still listening.

Today I linked with A Wise Woman Builds her House A-Wise-Woman-Builds-Her-Home


  1. Monna, your blog is so inspiring. I love how you write. And I must tell you that I always have tears in my eyes by the end of each post. Keep writing...keep inspiring.

  2. @Kath - now I have tears in my eyes. Thank you.

  3. Thank you Monna, I love reading your blog! You are an inspiration! xo jill

  4. Jill, I so appreciate that from you. :)


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