Mother’s Day is a special day to me and I am sure most moms. It is the one day I feel I earned. I remember my first mother’s day with my oldest son Dimitri. My husband bought me roses to celebrate. The picture is below.
Becoming a mother and being a mother over these years, has forced me to look at my view of my mother and mothers generally. My mother is Dutch. Her father died after a long chronic illness when she was seventeen. She supported herself since she was 18. My mother was a working woman until she had her first child, my older sister. Then she became a stay at home mother. I went through a period where I was very close to my mother, early childhood and preteen years, and then went through a time where we were much more distant, teens and early twenties. There was a cultural issue because I have Dutch lineage but I am American first.
As I became a mom and continued working, I found myself thinking about my mother more and having a new perspective on her life, her choices and our relationship. There is much I don’t know about my mother. She is a very private person. I remember pushing her very hard as a teenager because I truly believed she did not understand me. Not so long ago, she told me something that made me see that time in my life and her role in a whole new light. My mom told me of her teenage years when her father was dying and her mother was focused on his care. It hit me hard to realize that probably was a big part of why she did not understand me as a teenager. Acting out and pushing for independence were not part of her teenage experience so she was not well prepared when her daughter hit that turbulent time.
I have found myself wanting to know my mother better and admiring more what I do know. I held her up to a standard of perfection growing up and she fell short. I realized if my kids to the same to me, I would also fall short. I try to be open with my kids about my choices, including the one to work and my mistakes and weaknesses. I also talk to them about my mother and her choices. I don’t think there is a right choice for everyone. I don’t know if my mother truly felt she had a choice when she had children. I feel fortunate that I did but it’s a choice with consequences and responsibilities.
On mother’s day, I am truly thankful for my children who have blessed me in so many ways, for my husband who makes being a mother a partnership activity with lots of love, laughter and support, and my mother who made many sacrifices for her children and is a complex, beautiful person as well as a wonderful grandmother. When I was first a mom, I knew she did not agree with me returning to work although she never said anything. One time after a visit to help me with baby Dimitri, she hugged me and said, “You’re a good mom.” It brought tears to my eyes. My mother finds expressing emotional things difficult so that made it more special. I also did not realize until that moment how much I wanted my mother to validate my motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day to moms everywhere including my special mom (pictured here with baby Dimitri, baby Damian and baby Leyla)!