For us normal mothers, we are just trying to do the best we can. I don’t think I have been an above average mother, but I did the best I know how to do. I think back to all the mistakes, all the times I could have put forth a little more effort and compare myself to all those mothers whose kids attend super colleges, and are doing amazing things and think, if I could do it all over again, would I have done anything differently. And the answer is, probably not.
I remember when my boys were little, other Moms would tell me about all the special things they were doing with their kids, and I always asked, “How on earth do you find time to do all of this?” And of course, most of them only worked part-time, or not at all – but still, it always made me feel kind of inadequate, like I just wasn’t doing enough for my kids.
And I was always told by others – including my family members and complete strangers, that my children were too exuberant, they needed to be disciplined, they talked too much, and so on and so forth. But I did things my own way. My main motto was – One is only a child for such a short amount of time, why not enjoy it!
I never, ever said “You are too young to understand” or “Because I say so” or anything like that. I tried to explain stuff to them, explain things in a way they could understand, and if that didn’t work, I made up stories, or basically fibbed.
There was the time we went for a walk, down some country roads in Georgia. They wanted to pick up a slimy piece of rope and bring it home, I told them they couldn’t because it was witches’ hair and the witch would come looking for it (witches feel very strongly about their hair), once she realized it was missing. They promptly put the rope down and ran all the way home.
There were times when they annoyed me so much I threatened to drop them off at a church, so the church people would take care of them. They asked me why church people, and I said because they probably had more patience than I did. I did actually stop at church one time, right outside of Columbus, Georgia – at a peaceful looking Baptist church in the woods, and tried to put them out of the car. They said, “No Mummy – don’t leave us with the church people, we promise we will be good.” And they were silent for about 5 miles down the road and then started in with their bickering and generally being pooh-butts.
Or the times they used to complain about not being able to do things, like go to Disney World every month, or buy a toy, or have a sleep-over. I would tell them, “Well, you know there is always “The Other Family Store” in Macon. We could drop you off there and you could pick out another, nicer family – if you are not happy with the way things are going here.” After considering that option, they usually straightened up for a little while, and chose to stay with our family.
Or the times I used to threaten my boys with a sprinkle of Frog Powder – a powder that was used on misbehaving boys. One flake of this powder would turn the boy into a frog, and he would have to go into the woods, and live in the moldy, soggy leaves, eating insects for 7 days, at which time he would change back into a boy, and could return home. The boys told me when they were older, they were going to go on “Oprah” and announce to the world, about how horrible a mother I was. But they never did.
And the thing is, even with all this unconventional parenting, they have turned out to be really great adults. They still come to me when they have exciting news, they come to me when they have bad news or need help, and they still enjoy hanging out with me and their Dad. They have plans for their future, and are very diligently working towards those goals. I am very proud of the people they have become, despite having endured a childhood of being raised by a normal, average, slightly whacky Mother.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms trying to do the best they can!!!!!