To all the mother’s out there. I do hope you are having a wonderful day, despite some of the limitations we are all experiencing with this pandemic wreaking havoc on our lives.
I’ve been blessed with some company Saturday and today. No hugs, though, which is something we all miss. Still, having company and sharing some meals is good and something to be thankful for. Family, especially my kids, is so important to me, and years ago I was asked to write what motherhood meant to me for a national publication, Marriage & Family Living Magazine. The following, which is now the introduction to my humorous memoir, A Dead Tomato Plant & a Paycheck, is what I wrote back then. Enjoy…
Sunday is Mother’s Day, and in this time of feminism and ERA it’s hard to decide what to write about. Do I mention all those heart-tugging gifts I’ve received over the years, like the dead tomato plant in a tin can and the wilted dandelions clutched tightly in a grubby little hand.
On the other hand, maybe it’s unfair to offer only one side of motherhood. Maybe I should say a word or two about all the daily frustrations that threaten to make me seek cover in the nearest rest home. The cleaning; the car pools; the laundry; the endless sibling infighting; more cleaning; and cooking and….
Who’s the joker who started the myth that housewives spend endless hours in front of the television eating chocolates? Not that it’s a bad idea. But let’s get real. The last time I watched daytime television I was sick with the flu and couldn’t have eaten a chocolate if Godiva herself brought me one.
While I’ve been trying to sort out all these things associated with motherhood, I keep wondering why there is so much unrest among women today, even those who have had a satisfying career outside the home before deciding to become full-time homemakers. Then I realized the unrest comes out of a loss of pride. Modern thinking has managed to strip us of any glimmer of the kind of pride our mothers could feel for their role.
It’s true that modern ideology still advocates free choice, but somehow the choice of full-time homemaker doesn’t garner the same respect and interest as choosing to be an astronaut. When was the last time an anecdote about your five-year-old drew a crowd at a cocktail party?
Under the circumstances, it’s no wonder women are in such turmoil. Society has force-fed us its version of the “modern woman” — exciting, sophisticated, fulfilled, and working outside the home. So when a woman finds her fulfillment at home, she automatically starts questioning and comparing. That is especially true of the women who had a different career first.
As someone who has managed to straddle the fence for a number of years, I don’t feel qualified to advocate one over the other. I’ve managed to have the best of both worlds, and I must admit that my early success with writing came as a balm at a time when I felt like I was drowning in custodial duties for the family. But a painting class the year before had been just as therapeutic.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a mother and homemaker first. And somewhere down the line when I may be sitting in a rocking chair looking back over my life, I think the dead tomato plant will mean more to me than my first paycheck as a writer.
I only wish the world at large measured my success with the same yardstick.”
That’s all for me today, folks. Be safe. Be well. Be happy. And if you have any thoughts or special memories of Mother’s Day, please do share in the comments.