The Mother of All Days
I just finished cleaning the toilets (naturally) when I got a call from my dearest friend Heather at 4amblogger.com. She made me promise that my mother’s day gift to me would be to put up a new post. So here you are my love, thank you for keeping me on track and reminding me not to wash all my dreams down my sparkling toilets.
So first, without hesitation, a very Happy Mother’s Day to every mom, grandma and auntie out there. I think it can be universally agreed one day to say thanks is not nearly enough, the work of a good mother pays dividends for generations. No matter how well worded the Hallmark card or how bountiful the bouquet presented today, there can be no amount of gratitude for the substantial role a nurturing, loving mother plays in the preservation of our future here on planet earth.
There are so many theories and essays and books on motherhood and the modern woman and to all that I say, “yawn”. You can put whatever mommy-moniker you want on the institution of motherhood but chances are whether you are a “soccer mom”, a “SAHM”, a “working mom of multiples” or an “organic-lacto-vegan-Montessori-mom” – at the end of the day most moms are united by three simple principles: 1) we are trying, 2) we are tired, 3) we are in need of chocolate (maybe that last one is just me).
If one were to ask for my deeply profound opinion on what it is like to be a mother today compared to say 1950, I would simply tell you that; some things are easier, some things are harder and some things have not changed at all, and I suspect they never will.
What is easier? Of course there are a myriad of consumer products for moms today everything from disposable diapers (sorry environment) to battery powered breast pumps to margarita mix - all of which make life far easier on the modern mom. From a social perspective I would say that the internet is my favorite answer as to what has made life easier for moms in this generation.
The internet is the new front porch, the coffee time talk where you can go and find answers and support to just about every mom and woman issue on the planet. There are fabulous, supportive and informative moms and women who will open up and share their life and experiences with everything from gluten free living to tightening your glutes. Or maybe you just find someone who makes you laugh, like I did with The Martha Project.
So thanks to all the moms and women; the funny, the informative, the supportive and also a shout out to the few crazies out there (because who doesn’t like to feel a little smug every now and again?)
What is harder? Well of course, the same informative super highway can make a mom feel like she has taken her minivan onto the autobahn. “Honey throw out those Oreos and milk, we should be buying organic super double fudge cookies and dunking them in soy milk.” I think.
There is perhaps a bit too much information to digest at times. Our moms did what their moms did. And their moms did what their moms did, which for most was be happy to have survived a war and a Depression. Today’s moms feel like they need to put on a size two designer jean, load up a baby that can read into a stroller that costs as much as the car, walk to Whole Foods and spend a week’s pay on a piece of salmon and ten jars of organic star fruit. So one really needs to temper the pressures and information made available to them. This is best achieved by balancing each hour on the internet researching a topic with thirty minutes on TMZ – to cleanse oneself if you will.
What has stayed the same? Well let’s see, I cleaned the toilets on mother’s day and my husband went to Home Depot. Heather at 4amblogger will call me to say she is home alone with her 6 month old, 4 year old and 6 year old because her husband is on a hunting trip. I will tell her that’s okay I am home alone with an 18 month old and a 3 year old (soon to be four) because my husband is at an all day soccer tournament.
Some things don’t change much generation to generation. Husbands may come in the delivery room and moms may pull in salaries that dwarf their husbands, but in most grocery stores it’s the moms in the aisles and at the playgrounds and at the daycare for pick up.
I don’t think there is anything terribly wrong with this, I don’t think Gloria Steinem need cringe but Virginia Woolf probably should. A mother’s quest not just for a “Room Of One’s Own” but as I like to say, “A Bathroom Of One’s Own” is painfully difficult. It’s just that moms today pull double and triple duty. Michelle Obama once said she would get up at 5am to get in a work-out. Most moms would agree that crack of dawn or middle of the night may well be the only time they can find to do the things that matter them. To their souls. To their dreams and ambitions. Whether those dreams are defined delts or to write a blog.
That is where every Oprah must find her Gayle, a friend to push you to your capabilities beyond organic quinoa, advanced gymnastics for preschooler try-outs, 7am conference calls and pant suits with Spanx.
We must remember that one of the very best gifts a mom can give her kids is to have been true to herself - because the kids won’t remember the sparkling toilets they grew up with, but they will remember a mom filled with love and joy – not just for them, but for herself.
With extra love and kisses and joy to my mom, a true friend and inspirer.