An overwhelming majority of people out there have had a privilege to grow up with a loving mother, myself included, and we tend to quickly get used to seeing our mom perform her role admirably. The things a mom does shape our world as we are growing up, yet we just sort of assume that that’s how things are supposed to be, and never give it much thought. It’s easy to miss all the hard work that goes into raising a family when you are focused on other things like running around with other kids, going to school and playing video games.
Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that a lot of moms don’t really make a big deal out of it, but they definitely have plenty of struggles that they keep to themselves. Here are some of the things I learned from my mom, as well as my wife, once I had already grown up and started a family of my own.
1. She had to walk the tight line between parent and friend
A mother wants nothing more than to see the warm smiles on her children’s faces, have fun with them and talk about all kinds of things. They can be your best friend in the whole wide world at times, but they also know that as you grow up you will only trust your close friends with certain things and go to them to vent about problems.
A moms job is, first and foremost, to make sure you develop into a good human being, with a decent value system, healthy habits and a skill base that will help you succeed in life – this sometimes requires her to pull rank on you, focusing on disciplining and teaching rather than taking your side and encouraging bad behavior.
2. She shed thousands of tears for you in joy, sadness and anger
Since the day she found out she was pregnant your mom was on an emotional rollercoaster ride. She was in tears, all confused and excited at first, she went through mood swings and cried because she couldn’t find her phone when she was pregnant, she went through hell to bring you into this world and she spent many sleepless nights when you were sick or injured. They may occasionally bring up some of these points, but you don’t know half of it, and it’s only when you become a mother or see what your partner has to go through, that you begin to truly appreciate her sacrifices.
3. She went from a regular woman to superheroine protector once you were born
You see, most moms start out like any average woman, minding their own business and generally not looking at the world with the eyes of an ex CIA agent. However, once their first child is born, they go into full superheroine mode. Moms will scan the perimeter for any sign of danger, from suspicious strangers to bumps in the road someone might trip on, check to see if all the doors and windows are locked, and make sure that both their and the other kids on the playground aren’t misbehaving. It’s not really something they train for or learn in books or see in videos, the mental shift just kind of happens naturally.
4. She knows that you’ll hear most of her advice as nagging, and she’s OK with that
It is important to impart some serious life lessons to your children. All the knowledge and wisdom you have picked up through experience, along with advice based on the kind of common sense that kids have yet to develop, is not always welcomed with open arms. Kids will moan, fuss and generally make the whole process difficult, but mothers soldier on and keep up their “nagging” until the lesson has been fully understood and we develop good habits. They have no problem playing the bad guy, as long as it helps us reach our full potential and grow up to be decent people.
5. She watched the same cartoons over and over again until she learned the lines by heart
One of the greatest joys as a child is discovering a cartoon that is virtually perfect in every way as far as you are concerned. These days it’s easy for kids to get hooked on all kinds of videos, cartoons, TV or YouTube shows and songs, which they will proceed to watch or listen to all day long. It can get incredibly frustrating for a grown woman to listen to the same thing all day long, but moms bare this burden gracefully, and even sing along cheerfully with their little ones.
6. She had to make tough calls behind the scenes to ensure that you were safe and comfortable
Remember how you got that cool new toy, or had some sweets and got a new jacket, even though times were tough? Chances are your mom had to do some juggling in order to balance out the home budget, which often meant cutting any corner she could winter, spring, summer or fall, so that there was always enough money left to keep you well-fed and well-dressed. Moms are always on the lookout for good deals and innovative cost-cutting tactics, and they will never let you see the hard work that goes into keeping everyone as comfortable as possible.
7. She struggled to understand all the things that “kids are up to these days”
Being your go-to confidant is a task your mom gladly accepts, but it also means that she has to work hard if she wants to keep up with the younger generations. When she talks to you she needs some sort of context and at least a rudimentary understanding of youth culture if she wants to relate, and it can be confusing and tiring for her at times. Being the cool and understanding mom requires patience and quite a bit of research on the side.
8. She tried hard to keep you away from old family secrets and feuds
If you have had a relatively fun and relaxed childhood, all things considered, then you probably owe your mom a huge gift. All families will have some traction, all kinds of small feuds and issues, and perhaps a few skeletons in the closet. It’s up to moms to act as a buffer between their children and the turbulent relations within the family, always keeping their chin up and a smile on their face.
9. She often turned a blind eye when you messed up or did something wrong
While most of us like to think that we were pretty good as children, the truth is that kids can be quite the handful at times. It takes a lot of time to develop a strong sense of right and wrong, and learn how to behave, and our moms tend to be incredibly patient throughout our different developmental stages. We would break things and lie about it, even though it was obvious we did it, or we’d make the very mistakes our mother told us how to avoid; yet mom would sometimes skip the stern talk and let one slide if she felt that we felt very bad about it.
10. She did her best to provide support and keep you motivated
There are many different ways your mom tries to lift your spirits. For me it used to be the fun colorful lunch boxes, with little notes inside that made me smile and push through a tough day at school. Nowadays, my wife looks for wise and uplifting quotes and puts motivational stickers on our daughter’s backpack and on the covers of notebooks. It’s little things like this, as well as all the pep talks and pats on the shoulder that keep you motivated. Although moms may seem overbearing at times, they are actually constantly gauging our mood, always ready to give us the support that we need.
11. She worked hard to keep you clean and presentable
Most kids just grab a t-shirt and a pair of pants, pout on their shoes and run off to play. Every day there is a fresh, well-ironed outfit ready for you – it always smells nice and looks good on you. Until you grow up you never stop to wonder just how it is that no matter how much you satin and mess up your clothes, they keep coming back fresh and neat. Moms will drag you along to shop for clothes, wash and iron them all the time, straighten your collar and tuck your shirt in, and they even have to remind you to bring a jacket along.
12. She’d set aside her problems and obligations to hear about your trivial issues
Moms have to work hard, be they working or stay at home moms, to provide for their family and take good care of their kids. And at the end of the day, even though they might have been frustrated out of their mind at work, got tired from doing all the chores or discussed some serious issues with their partner, they still take the time to listen to your problems. As naïve and trivial your issues might be when compared to the real-world problems a mom faces, a mom will give her full attention and try to help you work things out.
13. She patiently weathered your tantrums and tried to make you see the right path
A lot of good sound advice is met with resistance, and before most serious problems can be addressed there has to be a time of adjustment where it’s not uncommon for a child to go through a few tantrums. Moms know when to lay down the law, and when to sit back and allow you to let out your frustrations and expel all the pent up energy that was building up for quite some time. It’s good to have a good cry every now and then, and your mother knows it, so she’ll weather a few emotional storms, give you a shoulder to cry on and push you in the right direction once you have calmed down.
A mother struggles to ensure that her children can have a good life. Apart from making sure that they are safe, and have enough to eat and wear, a mother will face a thousand and one little challenge while trying to raise her kids right. It is important to acknowledge the effort and sacrifices of our mothers, and just once in a while, cut them some slack and do something nice for them.
Featured photo credit: Theresa Martell via flickr.com