I enjoyed thinking about and writing this blog because it has to do with real human feelings and behaviors - humor, the art of giving and the sharing of wisdom. There are so many definitions and characteristics associated with mothers. Protector, disciplinarian and ultimately, over time, friend. She is a generous, loving individual who regularly puts others first, sacrificing her desires and needs, prioritizing those of others - especially her children's. A mother encourages skills and abilities, teaching and inspiring her children to be capable, loving adults. Like fatherhood, it is the hardest, most rewarding job one will ever experience.
Erma Bombeck, a well-known American humorist wrote about marriage and family life providing some great insights, for example: "Never have more children than you have car windows" and "Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother". And one of my favorites: "When your mother asks, 'Do you want a piece of advice?' it is a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway." So as a mother and now grandmother, whether asked for or not, let me give you some advice and wisdom to make your role more fun and fulfilling. First and foremost, do not worry about making your child's life perfect. Your job is not to 'mow down' any and all obstacles or 'fix' their problems. Your job is to guide, provide support and let them recognize their inner strengths and resilience. If you don't, you hobble your children and they will never experience their ability to withstand adversities and grow from challenges. Next, don't be their friend as they are growing up. Once when I was a teenager and upset with my father, I said, 'you are not a very good friend'. He quickly but lovingly reminded me; 'Oh, let's be clear about this. You have friends, I have friends - we are not friends. As your father I have an important job to do. When you are an adult, then we can be friends'. That advice has stayed with me during my life and I recognized the importance of it when raising my children. They needed me and my husband to guide, mentor and lead them through their growth and development. To show them what was around corners, hazards they could not see for themselves.
Finally, and most importantly, take care of yourself. This is not selfish. It is a necessary part of your 'job', your rank as a mother. My own wonderful mother, Mary Joyce, suddenly passed away in 2010. I miss her --- for so many things. Who she was, her courage, her unwavering strength and amazing insights. Always giving, supporting and inspiring her children. She and my father raised 6 children. Although she did not always heed her own advice, when I got married and started my family she would regularly say to me; "take care of yourself. Your family loves you but no one is going to stop and say; "I think mom needs a pedicure, a massage or a spa day'. You must advocate and take that for yourself. Giving yourself the gift of time with friends or time alone is necessary for the job you do. Resentments, frustrations and fatigue are the culprits if you do not. Recognizing this need, this gift of self-care allows you to recognize its importance and you then support this for others as well.
This can be a tough day for some. You didn't always get the 'mother you ordered' but there are two chances at motherhood, the one you got and the one you want to/can be. So care for yourself and be the best you can. And reach out to your mother or the person in your life who provided care, loved you when you were not so loveable and inspired you to work hard, be resilient and taught you the real meaning of love - service to others. Do it now because there will be a day when you cannot. Write a card, call, share a fond and fun memory showing your appreciation and love. That is my best advice.
Metahab wishes all mothers, grandmothers and those who provided that loving presence in a person's life a very Happy Mother's Day.
Follow this advice and treat yourself and another deserving Mother to a Women's Wellness and Resilience Day in Sonoma. Join us on May 25, June 8th or July 13th for a fun day in Sonoma to unwind and rejuvenate. Go to www.metahab.com for more information.