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April 15, 2016 / Meredith

M Is For Mother

What else could M stand for?  Mothers around the world are to blame for everything, am I right?

OK, I say that as a person who never gave birth.  In my opinion there’s no way to mother perfectly (ick, a noun used as a verb!) .  It doesn’t matter how many books you read, no matter how much you don’t want to be like your own mother, no matter how much you see the patterns of motherhood throughout your ancestry, no matter how many mental health professionals you talk to, there is no way in hell you’re going to be the perfect mother.

Mothers are screwed.  That’s pretty much why I never became one.  I have an aversion to failure.

Take my mother as an example.  I could go on and on, but I’ll try to rein it in.  Not that I think my mom did a bad job, but like I said, even with the best of intentions a mother is screwed.  I turned out okay, as did my siblings, but with all of us there was a bunch of baggage we carried through our lives labeled Your Mom Did This.

My mom instilled in me, at an early age, the value of appearances.  It was she who subversively convinced me that certain people are worth socializing with rather than others.  She’s the one who made me believe she knew everything.

Come to find out, my mom doesn’t know everything, she’s (and her family) not better than everyone else, and appearances are superficial.  And how long did it take me to figure out?  Long.

But here’s the thing.  I think mothers do the best they can with the tools they have.  If they were raised by a dysfunctional mother (as mine was) they’ll probably try to do better with their own children.  I’ve seen my sister raise children, and according to my assessment she’s done a much better job than our mother did with us.  However, as a semi-outsider, I can see where her children will blame her for faults and dysfunctions in themselves.  That’s the way it’s been for eons, and that’s the way it will be for eons more.  As I said, mothers are screwed.

My mom has her faults and her dysfunctions, she’s passed those things onto her children.  But her children, thankfully, have realized that she did the best she could, and it wasn’t all that bad.  She wasn’t addicted to chemicals, she didn’t lock us into closets for sinning (Carrie), she didn’t give us cold water enemas or tie us to the piano while instructing us to hold our water (Sybil).  She had her baggage, but I can confidently say that her children have grown to have less, or at least different, baggage than she did.

We’re all in this world alone and are solely responsible for our own lives, but if you had a mother who put a Band-Aid on your bee sting, took you to the public beach on a bicycle so you could cool off in the summer, and made sure you were clothed and fed and housed and safe throughout your childhood, then you’ve probably had an okay childhood.

Don’t let your mother wreck your life.  Forgive her for what she didn’t know, and thank her for what she’s done for you.

Blogging A-Z is a new challenge I’ve accepted, although I don’t think I’m technically included with all the other people who have accepted the same challenge, so I’m not even going to link to the challenge site.  Forgive me, challenge site, I’ll sign up earlier next year.

Every day (except Sunday) during the month of April I’ll take a letter of the alphabet and write on a theme that begins with that letter.

The End

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