When your mom dies at a young age, the way mine did, you find yourself needing her everyday. Then there are those big moments of need, when you really wish there was some way to get her input, to hear her stories and to get her advice. I have never wanted my mom more then after I became one.
I’m not talking about in the hospital when the twins were born or even that first year, since I had my stand-in moms to help, but more since the boys turned 4 up until the present. Why? Because I desperately want to know how the hell she was a solid stay-at-home mom and loved every minute.
My father, as amazing as he is, doesn’t always get the details right. After one particularly frustrating day with the boys we had this exchange:
Me: So Dad, when you would come home from work, would mom like throw us at you and be like “I’m done!”
Dad: No, I don’t remember that at all. She loved being with you guys and was so happy to be spending that time with you. She loved being a stay-at-home mom.
My mom has been gone for over 20 years now and it’s hard to get the details or the answers that I want about specific things. I have a lot of family to ask but the problem is three-fold:
1. Times were so, so different. My mom aspired to be a stay-at-home mom the way I aspired to become a personal trainer and fitness studio owner.
2. Moms didn’t share their stories about how challenging or downright awful raising kids was. Basically, there was no brutal honesty and most SAHMs smiled and said they were happy to be there.
3. I am not my mother.
But, I am my mother’s daughter and I refuse to believe she was blissfully happy at home, raising my brother and I. What I do know is that my brother was not nearly as “active” as my boys are, but I was quite a handful. How do I know? She told me.
Instead of looking outward for answers, I racked my brain for memories I could come up with. After all, I did spend 17 years with the woman.
When I was growing up, there was no YouTube or Netflix but there were soap operas! I distinctly remember that my mom watched “Days of Our Lives” (like sands through the hour glass…) every freakin day. There was also no DVR so whatever was happening at 3pm, she ditched it and sat her ass on the couch.
One time I was home sick from school, laying on the couch in the TV room (remember when there was only one room for it?) and she let me watch it. I think I was 7 or 8 at the time and definitely not ready for the content. Did she care? Hell no. She wasn’t going to miss that day’s saga just because I had the bad luck of being sick!
Now that was the kind of stuff I was searching for. Pure selfishness! I love it. Then I remembered more…
She let us eat sugary cereals with reckless abandon. I must have eaten 100 boxes of Lucky Charms during my childhood.
She drove a Ford pick-up truck like a maniac and sometimes left me alone in it while she “quickly” ran inside a store.
She was an amazing artist and created paintings, wreaths, hair bows and ties, Christmas ornaments and countless other things in a room she had all to herself in the basement. She sold her crafts to local businesses and I remember the pride in her face when her pieces would sell. She kept her craft room meticulous and spent hours down there honing her talent. She would have ruled Pinterest!
She said plenty of awful things to me like “I love you but sometimes I don’t like you,” and “one of my kids makes my life easier and the other doesn’t.” Guess who didn’t?
I love remembering all these very human things about my mom. She didn’t always get parenting right but that wasn’t the point. I’m the strong, intelligent, loving woman I am because of her and whether or not she relished staying home and raising my brother is not what really matters.
In fact, I’m pretty sure when she was smoking Virginia Slim Menthol Lights (which she had me purchase for her once, and they didn’t hesitate to sell them to a 10 year-old!) on our front porch with the neighbor, they weren’t talking about how much they loved every moment of child rearing.
She may not be here now for me to talk to but I’m still learning from her everyday. I would give anything for more time with her but, the time I did have was real and I’m grateful for it every single day.
Happy Mother’s Day!
When do you feel you’ve needed your mom the most?
What real moments have you shared with your mom?