Dawn arrived today with black skies and heavy gray clouds. Today is Mother’s Day in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This day to celebrate mothers has in recent years developed into more of a day for overpriced restaurant brunches, store-bought cards and one of the busiest days for florists.
As I was contemplating the gray skies this morning I remembered this day along with what motherhood has meant to me. It wasn’t much of an epiphany for me that much of my hands on mothering days were spent flying by the seat of my pants; making it up as I went along and hoping that I didn’t screw it up too badly. I was fortunate to have a wonderful role model in my mother who always put us three kids ahead of herself.
It would have been great to have mom on speed dial and I was lucky enough to live near her when Daughter #1 was born up until we moved across country just before Daughter #2 was due and then of course came The Boy. Calling long distance was expensive for a young family on a very tight budget. This was also in the days before internet and the plethora of child rearing experts. We didn’t have the resources to research every milestone and behaviour; I relied on the family doctor and the voices of other more experienced mothers that had walked the same path.
There is much written and discussed about different “parenting styles”. Sometimes I think that parenting is over analyzed. When one has a child you can read all the books in the world but with babies it all comes down to four basic needs. They need food, warmth, a clean bed to sleep in and most importantly to be loved. As they grow into what I call “real little people” the tough part begins. Hopefully every parent’s goal is to raise a kind, productive human being that contributes to society no matter where you are in the world. And sometimes society and environment pushes back. No matter what your “parenting style” or how your child came to you; whether by birth, adoption or by your partner’s previous relationship you can’t control everything that “little person” is influenced by.
It’s a fine line to balance the “wants” over the “needs” of a child. Our children were raised in a much simpler time in a world where there was much less “stuff” available but even then they didn’t get everything they wanted. Barbies, bicycles and big trucks were still the most loved toys until My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake and Transformers took over. Children were still out on the streets in the warm weather riding their bikes up and down the sidewalk or playing street hockey until bed time and in the winter they played all day in the snow. I see the way things used to be here; with children playing tag or baseball in the streets and running through the campo to go fishing. I see parents raising their children the best they can with what they know and what they have, which in both respects is very little.
On this Mother’s Day I would like to wish all you moms (and Mr. Mom’s) the blessings of the day no matter what your parenting circumstances. Some of us muddle through and make through the other side and wonder how we ever did it. For those of you with young children, enjoy this time, it passes too quickly; follow your instincts and don’t be afraid to let your children figure it out for themselves. Be there to lend a hand if they ask for it, some need more help than others or even a nudge in the right direction. As long as they are secure with those four basic needs, the rest is just “stuff”.
Happy Mother’s Day, to my favourite gal in the world; my mom Mary Ann Doughty. ¡Te amo! ¡Que tenga buen día!
And to my favourite Mother in Law in the world Betty Miles, with much love from the campo.