As a kid, I loved you. You were young, pretty and all the boys in my class were in love with you. You were cool and you rocked my world. Your love for my sisters and I was evident in all that you did for us.
As a teen, I thought you were strict and I feared you. You were hard on me and didn’t understand me at all. You grounded me a lot for lying, rolling my eyes at you and for talking back. Whatever – is what I thought back then.
As an adult, I realize you loved me back then and your strict parenting style just came from the way you were raised. Although you had it rough with Grandma being so old fashion and all, you felt you were easier on me in comparison to how you were raised and now that I know more, I couldn’t agree with you more. Compared to your own upbringing, us girls had it good Mom. We just didn’t know it then. As kids, we didn’t know any different. Not your different. We just compared what we could and couldn’t do with what our friends were able to do. My friends were allowed to do so much more. It never seemed fair and I blamed it on you. Little did I know it was hard for you to let go.
As a teenager, I swore I would never be strict in parenting my own children. I swore I would allow them more freedom and choice to make decisions on their own, get in trouble and learn from their mistakes. I promised I would never ground my children for any period of time longer than a day or two. I swore I was going to be more patient and understanding than you. I wasn’t going to spank my kids either. I was going to love them as much as you loved us multiplied by 1000. I was going to be a better Mother than you, Mom.
At least I was going to try.
I now have three girls of which one is a teenager. The little girls still think I’m cool and fun but they often tell me I’m mean and have a lot of rules. Of course, they compare me to Daddy who plays with them more, has less rules and lets them make a mess of the house. How can I compete with that? Being the rule enforcer gets you nowhere! My teenager has been rolling her eyes at me now for a year. She’s been talking back to me about the same length of time. She doesn’t think I’m THAT cool anymore but at least she still wants to hold my hand in public. She probably
most likely hates me sometimes too. I’m hoping I’m wrong.
Ultimately, as a Mom, I just want what is best for my kids and sometimes it’s hard trying to balance mothering, housekeeping, teaching and doing the wife thing. Sometimes I loose my patience. Sometimes I’m grumpy. Raising children and taking care of a family is hard work. We do the best we can because we love them. I realize now that our best may not necessarily be they’re best because we all see the world through our own pair of glasses.
Am I a better Mother than you, Mom? I’m no award winner and I’ve never tried to be. I think I love my kids as much as you love us. I know I worry about them as much as you worry about us. I work hard at being less strict with the girls and less hovering but it’s hard, let me tell you. It’s hard to let them fall and get back up. It’s hard to watch them make mistakes and suffer the consequences. It’s not easy watching your little girl grow into a young lady who thinks you don’t understand her.
Mom, your raised me your way and I turned out pretty darn good. I may not have appreciated you then but I sure as hell value you now. As Moms, we do the best we can do with what God gives us. You raised three very smart, very responsible daughters. No matter your parenting style, we all turned out to be super stars. If my three turn out to be as good as your three, I’ll be one proud Mama.
Thank you for being my Mom, your way.