This entire week, I have had about 172 post ideas for Mother’s Day float through my head. It’s pretty much my favorite thing to write about, this madcap world of parenting and motherhood and toddler craziness. I tossed around the idea of writing about things that I have learned since becoming a Mom, a glamorous day in the life of this Mom and her two smelly boys or even why parenting sometimes makes me want to crawl under a rock with a good cocktail.
While I was blogging my life away during nap time one day, with all the chairs from the kitchen parked squarely in the living room because I half finished mopping and coffee creamer rotting away on the stove, I had one of those infamous lightbulb moments. Like the smack-you-in-the-head-with-a-9-iron type moments.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my Mom and how she raised my brothers and I or something she would say comes flying out of my mouth or I look in the mirror and see my darn Mom staring back at me.
My Mom and I had an atrocious relationship when I was in high school. I was just a horrid, horrid teenager and I was pretty sure she was out to ruin my life at every turn. Ever since becoming a Mom, it has dawned on me more than once that she was pretty good at this parenting business, even if I didn’t always think so. We have since hit this funny stage, where we are much more like friends than mother and daughter. The ONLY reason I am sad I don’t have a daughter is that I might miss out on the cool relationship that my Mom and I have now.
Over the last week or so, I’ve been reflecting on some of my favorite things about my Mom, what I have learned from her and how I am more like her than I always care to admit.
How to never grow up
Every time my Mom and I go anywhere together, I swear our roles are reversed. If we are checking in to a hotel and the person at the desk has a name that reminds her of something funny, she starts giggling uncontrollably. The littlest things set her off and then I am forced to become the “adult” and keep a straight face. Not only does she giggle to herself, she tries to catch my attention and then starts laughing so hard she lets out a snort or two. Heaven forbid she has had a glass of wine or two. I have threatened to leave her in the car. At least she never takes herself too seriously. And we always have fun.
How to live your life in a state of indecision
Picture it. You’re planning a visit to your parents for the weekend and you are deciding whether you should go get ice cream before or after nap time on one of the days. Snap decision, right?
Here’s how it plays out with my Mom and I:
57 emails, 34 text messages, 2 phone calls and a consultation with the neighbors, maybe even some tears. We hash out every angle of the ice cream decision. Will the boys be too tired to enjoy it? Will they fall asleep on the way home? Will I have time to take a shower before we go? Who else might want to go with us to get ice cream? And for goodness sakes, who should bring the Wet Wipes? I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Both of us are incapable of making a decision and even once the decision is made, we still hash out whether we made the right decision. I’d like to think that when the chips are down, we could suck it up and get things done, but we’d probably STILL be debating about who should drive to the ice cream store.
How to open your doors to the world
One of the things I remember most from my childhood is that our house was always open to everyone. My parents had parties with their friends and planned fun birthdays for my brothers and I at home. In high school, my friends were always camped on the couch or at the bar in the kitchen and my Mom fed everyone. There were times I would get home from volleyball practice and find my friends there without me. Now that my brothers are in school, she does the same thing. There are always kids hanging around, eating nachos that my Mom made and tromping their dirty teenage boy selves through the living room. Everyone is welcome.
She taught me that making time for friends is one of the most important things you can do. We never had elaborate dinner parties with fancy napkins and artfully mismatched china, but we always had comfort and laughter and nobody went without a fabulous cocktail. One of my favorite things to do now that I’m an adult is have friends over for dinner, no matter the state of the house. I scurry around like a crazy person trying to clean before they come, but we usually end up drinking wine around the kitchen island and talking over the sink that is overflowing with dishes. I can only hope that I get to make nachos for my boys and their friends when they get older. Carry on the tradition.
How to make your obnoxious teenager feel loved
When I was in high school, my brothers were just toddlers. Like preschool and crazy meltdowns and nap time toddlers. My parents rarely (if ever) missed one of my volleyball or basketball games, were involved in just about everything I had going on, hosted team dinners for my various sports and chaperoned dances.
Now that I have kids of my own, I can’t possibly fathom how they made this happen. I’m exhausted by 8 PM when the boys go to sleep and it’s a rare occasion that we take the boys to something where they’d have to sit still for any length of time. I never gave it much thought when I was younger, but my parents deserve mad props for making me feel special and important even when they were knee deep in potty training and temper tantrums. It all looks pretty effortless when I look back, although I’m sure it was tough. And there was that one time when my baby brother came running out on the court when I was in the middle of a varsity volleyball game, but we won’t mention that.
Mom to the Rescue. Always.
When I was in college, I lived on Top Ramen and coffee. There were days when I would be close to making the choice between eating or putting gas in my car to get to school. The days that I was practically coasting into the parking lot were the days that I would find an envelope from Mom in the mail with a $20 bill, just because. She never showed up at my apartment without a few groceries and would always buy me a coffee if she came to visit.
Now that I’m a little older, she has been known to drop $10 in the mail so I can take the boys out for an ice cream if we’ve had a hard week. If we’re visiting my parents, she steals my car when I’m in the shower and fills up the gas tank. I watch her fill up boxes of food to send with my brother to college. She is willing to drop everything she has going on if we need her for anything.
She has taught me all about the Mom I want to be for my boys. Gracious and silly and generous and loving and indecisive and selfless and fantastic. I’ve been known to offer her Mom services to those in need.
Thanks Mom, for being pretty all-around fabulous. Now what flavor of ice cream did you decide on?
To all those who are mothers, who have mothers, who know a mother, who are trying to become mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!
Please share with us. What did you learn from your Mom? How are you like your Mom, either personally or in your own parenting style? Give your Mom a shout-out!
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