Thursday, May 13, 2010

Surviving Mother's Day

Happy belated Mother's Day to all you moms out there and to all of you who mother people you may or may not have given birth to.

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that all moms are supposed to love but some secretly hate. I have mom friends who stay home from church on this day, fearing they’ll hear another talk about Superwomen who never get mad and bake 50 loaves of bread and go running before waking the family for scriptures and prayer every morning. And some of my friends without children just can’t take the pain and perceived judgment and/or pity.

When I was a kid I loved Mother’s Day. My dad gave us money to buy something for my mom and would let us keep the change. I remember my kindergarten class making all our moms ashtrays and handing mine over with such pride. And the best of all were the “Mother Awards” handed out at sacrament meeting: “Who out there has more than 5 children; more than 6, 7, 8? Sister Jones has 9! Come on up and get a carnation!” I dreamed of one day winning such an award, wondering what it would feel like to be a superlative mom.

Now that I’m a mom, I’m ambivalent about the Sunday service. I love hearing the kids sing and secretly hope one of the Sunbeams will cause a scene. One year my 5 year old daughter shoved her 3 year old sister down during the chorus of “I Often Go Walking”, and the next thing I see is a tiny fist rise up and sock the shover in the gut. It made me proud that my girls were no shrinking violets.

What I do dread is that scripture about "her price being far above rubies." Every year someone has to quote that one. I roll my eyes because I know my price is more in the neighborhood of the semi-precious stones. Take your amethyst, aquamarine, or garnets, for instance. Now those are jewels one can more easily live up to. And honestly, what’s wrong with being a turquoise mom? Rubies are overrated in my book.

And because I’m at peace with my semi-precious status, I don’t care that I’d never win any of the superlatives I so longed for as a kid. I was never the youngest mom or had the most kids or whatever else they honored. But I do like to imagine what awards I’d give out if I were in charge on Mother’s Day. How about an award for the mom who lets her 9-year old French braid her hair and wears it out in public; or an award for the mom who can nurse a baby while pushing a shopping cart and talking on the phone. And I’d like to recognize some tough mommies too: an award for the mom whose son did NOT get his Eagle because she refused to do the paperwork for him or an award for the mom who took away her daughter’s cell phone because she was texting friends at 2a.m. Now those are some mamas who deserve a pat on the back.

So whether you’re a diamond or Cubic Zirconia, a long sufferer or a screamer, a maker of fine baked goods or a purchaser of Hostess products, I salute all the women out there who love and nurture and make mistakes and keep on going. And especially I thank all the women in my life, my friends, my sister, my daughters, and my mom, who treat me like a ruby, even when I’m not.


H said...

Thanks, Hedy, for the "tough mom" validation. It's nice to know that although my kids think I'm the only one on my block, I'm not the only one out there (and no texting after 10 p.m. means NO TEXTING AFTER 10!)

I doubt they'll ever have an award which addresses my specific situation ("Who survived a brutal first marriage and has equal numbers of children from both their first and second marriages?" or, "Who resists the impulse to head-butt those who label their children as coming from 'a broken home'"?). However, when they do I'll sit back serenely and refuse to stand, secure in my aquamarine status.

Em Russ said...

a few nights ago Lila sweetly called me to (a shamefully needed) repentance by saying "Mommy, when I am a mommy, I'm not going to be like you. I'm going to be nice. I'm not going to lose my temper." Awesome!! Happy Mothers Day to me!! Does that make me a nice lump of coal? Those are good for stuff to, right!! :)

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