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Category Archives: Motherhood

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You will wear yourself out worrying about your children.

You will stay up nights with newborns, croupy children in fully steamed bathrooms, 4 a.m. calls to get to the ice rink or gym, Will struggle to think of new and creative ways to feed your children and feed them dinner every day. You will buy the clothes and the shoes and the bows and the tie and the socks that match their favorite team’s colors or the colors of their birthday balloons. They will tell you that they no longer like that color, or team, generally at the party that you have worked long and hard to create.

Your children will not remember any of those things.

They will remember the time that you were at your worst and said or did something humiliating. They will not remember the numerous apologies. They will remember it and tell it to their significant other, friend, colleague, and therapist for at least 25 years or more and repeat it over and over until it grows in strength and horror. They will only remember a small part of the situation magnified many times.

You will go to four different stores to find the toy that they love for the Holidays and then, empty handed, will secretly buy it on Ebay. You will not want your child to know that you went without something else so that she would not be disappointed. You will want to be the person to make their magical dreams come true and worked many extra hours to see the sparkle in their eyes and the grateful smile that made it all seem worthwhile.

You will go to great lengths to settle for something so simple as their smile more times than they will ever know.

You will love your children more than they will ever love you. You will try to give them roots and wings and tell them to call you anytime, day or night. They will not call when you think that they will but you will settle all of your anxiety, anger, guilt and fear just to hear them say “Hi Mom.”

You will show off their photos and run out of places to hang their artwork.

You will carry scars that they will never see from giving birth, adopting, raising, and being the recipient of their anger and disappointment thousands of times over.

You will jump through hoops, stay up late, drive thousands of miles and hear that you never did anything for them. And, besides, they never asked to be born anyway.

Your heart will break when that vision of who your child will be crashes to the ground and splinters. Your heart will break when you have to seek professional help for that child or when someone says that it is time to let go.

You will defend the child’s behavior to your spouse, in-laws, teacher, medical professional and law enforcement. But you will pierce your own heart wondering what you did wrong to make him or her turn out this way.

Everything bad that the child does will be blamed on you and their lack of a proper upbringing or careful mothering.

You will never stop having to give money to your child. Period.

You will wonder how it took them two years to develop a vocabulary, and yet, they won’t let you get a word in edgewise.

You will fight for them with principals, teachers, doctors, other family members, and your significant other.

You will give them your last shred of energy even if they are dancing on your last nerve.

You will try to get through their adolescence, realizing that you have failed miserably to learn anything useful to use with your other children. You will realize that none of them behaved the same through those stress-filled teenage years and you will still be shocked and hurt to hear what they each have to say to you.

You will wonder why it hurts each time anew to be the least important person in their daily lives and how much time they want to spend as far away as possible. You will wonder why you have chest pains and stress headaches when they say that they do not want to talk to you, see you, or hear from you.

You will hear things like:
“I hate you”
“You never loved me”
“You were a terrible mother”
“Steven’s mother has food on the table waiting for him when he gets home”
“Sara’s mother lets her go to the Mall alone”
“This is disgusting and I will not eat it.”
“Why can’t you love me unconditionally?”
“Jessica’s Mom lets her……”

You will learn that you have no privacy whatsoever. Not even in the bathroom.

You will come to appreciate that newborns stay where you put them down and cannot say “No.”

You will question your sanity, your finances, your sense of values, your desires, work hours, choice of toys, organic produce, abilities to love and nurture another, the fear that comes with hearing about horrible things happening to children and pray that you never have to make those choices.

You will not know why it seemed so much easier for someone else to raise their children, if a tutor or a second language would have helped them to succeed, or if changing doctors would have affected the outcome.

You will cry more than you laugh and panic more than you sleep.

You will never stop apologizing and wonder why it is always your fault when they do not become accountable. Or accepting.

You will be amazed that you have done so many things over so many years and the time, money, heart, and strength it all took.

You will wonder why children will turn their back on you and seek solace and comfort from some other woman or man who “knows how to be a real parent.”

You will wonder what your life would have been like if you had never done this or had more than one child.

You will wonder if any other mother is going through these things.

You will realize that despite all the drudgery, hard work, sleepless nights, lack of money, hurtful words and withering embarrassment, you would have done it again.

dorothy parker_keeping children home

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If you are a Mom, have a Mom, want to be a Mom, or know someone who fits into one of these categories, please share.
Don’t Worry. They won’t be mad. IT’S ALL MY FAULT, ANYHOW.

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I published this post on July 16, 2014.  It is no less complex now than it was then. Since then, engagements and babies have added to the world of our family.  But, the communication is still shadowed in misunderstandings and different interpretations. Love is a fragile and complicated thing among families; it is fierce and determined, yet easily broken.

My love has been questioned, doubted and sometimes dismissed. As much as I wish that I could lighten their loads, these are roads that they choose to travel alone.  I am glad that my adult children have found families that bring them joy.  Selfishly, I wish that I could too, but perhaps, later in life it will come back around.  Can I say that I am proud of them? Would it matter? Perhaps, it is too late, for I am no longer part of the daily decisions, but I am happy for them.  I am proud for them as each is self-made as they continue to grow and develop.

Many years ago, my mother spoke to me about my independent and opinionated children. Then, she smiled at me, and said, “Hmmm.  I wonder where they come from?”

Indeed.

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generations by gilad

I love you and you will always be my child. I have been trying to stretch and grow to accommodate your view of life, but I realize that I am uncomfortable at times. Perhaps, it is because I am out of my comfort zone trying to be inside of yours. When I raised you, I had hoped to give you good character and kindness. Given your origins, independence, intelligence, and strong opinions could not help but be part of your nature. Sometimes, those opinions hurt me. You know I am sensitive and I was an easy target. But, still, I love you.

You have chosen to live your life differently than I have chosen to live mine. I try to keep my door open to you whenever you want to walk through it. We have made, and continue to make, different choices. I did not want to choose sides. I thought that I could lean over and hold on to all of them…. I want to be a part of your life and hope that you will grow to love me and include me in yours. However much I think we are the same, there is still too much difference. I am grateful that you are happy, but your version of happiness does not look quite like mine.

Will we grow to understand each other more as you grow in years? Will you choose me willingly, or reluctantly, to be a part of your life?

With every fiber of my being, you are like a limb; I could not imagine my life without you. When you are hurt and sad, I want to fix anything that happens to you. I want to comfort you and be the one who can make you stop crying or heal your pain. That fierce desire to care for and protect you will never change. But, you have found a love, that no parent can compete with, who reaches a part of your heart that I never will. As you grow, the brilliant colors are being added to your personal landscape.

What I am realizing, is that I want to walk with you on your path always, but you are walking on a road that I cannot follow. I am proud of you for choosing what you believe in and being self-sufficient. You are a wonderful friend and caring to those whom you love and cherish. You do not do everything the way that I do, nor do we have the same long term ideas, even though I wish we did. Please don’t judge me so harshly when you ask me to love you unconditionally.

Wanting to keep you near, but having to let you go is harder than you may think. Giving you roots, and wings, sounds easier than it is despite the gratitude that I feel as your parent. I can tell you that you were very wanted and are greatly loved. I did the best that I could at the time and continue to learn every day. If we are lucky enough, both of us will continue to improve until the last day of our lives.

With all my many words, ideas, and ideals, I still cannot seem to say the right thing. We do not agree on the method despite sharing the theory. We struggle to communicate at times. I am not perfect, and as special as you are, neither are you. We are two humans hoping to heal the future and right the errors of the past. While humans tend to focus on the bad, I hope that you will recall happy memories as well.

I hope you can grow to respect me and my feelings. I know that our relationship can be fragile despite the many years that I raised you. While you may not feel the same way, or understand, I promise you that you are a part of me always. As long as you are living, my baby you will be.

Remember, once I was your home.

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Thank you so much for stopping by! It means more than you know.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/complicated/
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Memories of childhood are a fragile thing.  The good things slip away while the negative things are enhanced.  History is revised and pain is magnified.  We carry a lot of baggage from our childhoods and struggle to let it go.

I spoke with one of my closest friends and, naturally, we spoke about motherhood and our children.  “You?” she said, “You were the Martha Stewart of mothers!”  Me?  She recalled the baking, the art projects, special foods, clothing, the trips and other things forgotten by the wayside. She said she was there all along and saw how much I did.  She said that she wished that my children could hear the love that I speak with for them and the sorrow that little of it seemed to be remembered.

We have photos, emails and witnesses to our efforts to succeed as parents.  But, layers of fear and insecurity lodge deep in our hearts and minds no matter how old we get.  Sibling rivalry seems to continue and anger blossoms.  We replay and repeat stories until they intensify in their importance or we create “new” memories.

As young adults, we seek to do everything differently than our parents and cover up the psychic wounds with activity.  As we get older, we doubt the level of love and connection to our family members.  My parents certainly didn’t love every decision or behavior of mine, but, thankfully, we had open dialogue about it.  Did they love us enough? Was their love “unconditional”?  I don’t know anyone who is loved unconditionally.   Loved fiercely? Absolutely.  But, while we love deeply, we do not always agree with the choices made or individually developed personal philosophies.  We are separate persons with different experiences and opinions.  These ideologies are just not our own, so our understanding differs.

Our children never stop being our children whether young or old.  I still get a thrill when I get a smile from my father or hear a shared memory.  But, I can also flinch when I hear his anger and feel like a young child again.  It takes a lifetime to figure out who we are within, and without, our families.  We don’t always remember the same moments from a single event, but we love.

We have layers of history and time that cannot be replaced.  No one will know us as long as the members of our family.  We create many friends who become like family.  But the bond of parenthood goes deep.  We never want to hurt our children and struggle to communicate this.

“Life is like an onion.  You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.”                                                  Carl Sandberg

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Our words are misunderstood as judgmental or disapproving.  Our tone, our words, our actions, and our motives are questioned and doubted.

I only have so much time to impart lessons and envy those with symbiotic relationships with their children.  My hope has been that my children turn out to be good people, kind and empathetic, in and out of the home.  I don’t expect them to live near me, but I do hope that they succeed in whatever it is that they do.  Whatever “happy” means, I want them to find it.

It takes a lifetime to be a parent, but we keep trying to show them the depth and layers of our love no matter how long it takes.

children are the only people that bring you to brink of insanity.jpg

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/layers/

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Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope that you enjoy your visit.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/layers/

To all the remarkable women who are mothers, or who deserve the respect and adulation that Mommies deserve, I wish you much compassion, wellness, and humor.  After all, that macaroni frame is not going to hang itself!

things our mothers taught us

With Mother’s Day approaching, I am getting so much mail about gifts to buy, how to celebrate, and things to do with Mom. As we are in the transitions with my mother and grandmother, I empathize with others that are unable to celebrate on this day.  Ultimately, through good and bad, no one loves you like your mother.

I come from a long line of very strong women; I have even given birth to a couple.  The stories and memories that we share of our lineage bring smiles, tears, and laughter – especially to others who don’t have to deal with all of the other baggage! But the inventive sense of humor, creativity, and independence that each lived gives us strength when we need it.  It reminds us that they have not really left us, but remain alive in our hearts and minds with each memory.

Men may be the hunters and gatherers, but it is the mothers who cut the crusts off the sandwiches and make sure that everyone has exactly the same number of cookies.  Mothers can spend 12 hours in the warzone with toddlers, but when Dad walks in, he gets all of the attention. Motherhood is not always fair, sometimes fierce, often fractured, but it is an elemental love so deep and strong, that we persevere.

My mother gave each of us the legacy of family through stories, journals and photographs that she has researched, collected and created for us to acknowledge and remember family members that we did not get to meet face-to-face.  She grew up without grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins and therefore worked very hard to make memories, create family occasions, and document them with pictures and souvenirs.  We grew up with developing fluid in our veins. We knew that if it happened, Mom had a photo of it.  We have had more “natural” posed photographs than some, but we knew it was, and still is, done with love.

The oral history that passes from mother to child brings our ancestors to life. It creates memories and journeys to share with our own children. It is a reminder that mothers will do what they have to do in order to care for their families, and others, in a world that does not always stop to notice.

My great grandparents had to move from one country in Europe to another in order to find work and financially support their growing family.  My great grandfather went ahead to seek work, while my great grandmother waited in another country with my grandmother and her brother.  She waited until my great grandfather was settled and he was ready for them to reunite.  Each European country was tied up in its own borders, paperwork and bureaucracy.  It might be necessary to move families, but they did not make it easy and did not want to take in immigrants to swell the ranks of the social services.  My great grandmother did not let one such border crossing officer utilize his power to keep her from entering the country and beginning a new life with her family.  She was told that the paperwork was not cleared and that she could not enter the country. So, like the clever, strong woman that she was, she told her children to sit down and wait at the crossing, with the nice border patrol, while she went to find her husband and clear up any misunderstanding with the necessary documentation.

My great grandmother was allowed to enter with her family and belongings.

My grandmother was very frugal, as was my grandfather, who carefully measured each portion and calculated every penny of their combined paychecks. In the 1950’s, my grandparents traveled to Europe, by ship, with my mother and her brother to see what was left of the lives that they had been forced to flee.  There simply was not enough disposable income for lavish meals after the expense of the tickets and the limited income they were careful to protect.  Grandma traveled with a large black purse, a seemingly bottomless trapezoid, which opened and closed with a clicking snap.  She carefully planned for their modest needs and traveled with cans of tuna.  At each restaurant where they were able to eat, the bread basket was placed on the table along with the cutlery and linens.  Each time that the waiter turned around, Grandma would swoop the entire contents of the bread basket into her large black purse, and pleasantly request more rolls.  The family dined on tuna sandwiches throughout their journey.

My mother, undaunted by her own strict and occasionally domineering mother, was unfazed at times when she sought independence.  As a teenager living in New York, my mother dreamed of cozy cottages and country climes.  She had seen a wooden rocking chair and wanted to purchase it for her room.  My grandmother felt it was unnecessary and impractical in their modest-sized apartment.  My mother was told that she could not get it. Those are fighting words for my mother.  She purchased that chair and brought it home, remarkably, on the New York subway system.  Through many incarnations, and paint colors, that rocking chair has traveled through several moves across the country and today sits in her home office.

My mother does things on her own timetable and doesn’t let the seemingly impossible stop her. Where I am punctual, my mother found the concept of time to be more fluid. If we were supposed to be somewhere in five minutes, that was enough time for her to put on nail polish before we headed into the car.

When I was a teenager, my family moved to New Orleans for a number of years. Mom and Dad had to acclimate to the weather, so hot and humid compared to our New England winters, and become accustomed to a brand new way of life.  Both of my parents worked and had to figure out how to maneuver in their new environment while trying to find their way around the city.  In the days before Mapquest, and the difficulty in driving in the city while holding a large paper map, it was necessary to remember the minimum number of routes to arrive at your destination. On one shopping excursion, my mother had missed her turn and did not know another way to get back to the Mall.  As I was a teenager, fresh from driving lessons and my license still warm, I told my mother that the sign said “No Left Turns.”  My mother’s steely reply:  “Wanna Bet?”

How can we turn out any other way than strong, determined, caring, and possessing a wit and absurd sense of humor?

We are teachers, doctors, cooks, and personal shoppers. We are chauffeurs, social planners, bankers, and the butt of jokes.  We are tired, despairing, frustrated, elated and proud. We can be examples or warnings.  We are mental health counselors on call 24 hours a day. But wherever we are, and wherever they are, we are forever Mothers.

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Thank you for stopping by! It means more than you know.  I miss you Mom.
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