Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Mother's Day Lament

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone… thank goodness. That painful holiday jam packed with guilty, insecurity and unrealistic expectations. If you’re a mother, particularly a mother of teens, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So, Sunday morning my children surprise me with breakfast in bed. And a complete breakfast it was. Scrambled eggs, home made pancakes with home made strawberry jam on top, sausage links, fresh squeezed orange juice and two slices of dark but not burned toast smeared liberally with honey.

It was a sweet thought, I kept telling myself as I loaded the second dishwasher full of breakfast dishes into the machine and scrubbed the last of the red berry stains off the ceiling. And besides, it’s the thought that counts; too bad my children didn’t just think about making me breakfast!

As mothers we have this sort of mixed up emotional expectation associated with the second Sunday in May. On the one hand, we want our children, for just a few minutes, to stop and realize how much hard work, blood, sweat and tears we have put out on their behalf. Perhaps a little appreciation for the twenty some odd years of clean laundry, healthy meals and on call chauffeuring services.

On the other hand, we don’t want them to look too closely at our parenting skills and remember things like the time we left them in the restroom at the gas station or how we got mad at them for leaving the milk out, only to remember that we used it last.

There’s the image of the model mother we hold in our head:
Constantly baking cookies and home made bread, hand ironing all her families clothing, and a cheerful smile and wise word always on her lips.
And the reality of day to day life:
Peanut butter for breakfast (just peanut butter), a freezer full of pre-made Stouffers meals, the -if the clothes smell clean then they are- test, and ‘it’s that time of the month so stay away’.

I guess all a mother can really do, is try her hardest to be a good mom, and open a high yield savings account to pay for the therapy her children will require when they’re adults.

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