CHOG #2 ~ WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU?
I’m the World’s Greatest Mom...I have a coffee mug that says so! Never mind that I bought it myself (insert giggle giggle!)!
Okay, here’s the background on that: A couple of Christmases ago, Steve and I decided that we were going to start “gearing down” the number of gifts our boys (grown men....insert giggle giggle!) were going to receive. Not necessarily the amount of money we spent on them, just not so many gifts, more concentration on the quality of the (maybe) one gift. So, I abided by that in spirit, sort of. But, what I did to satisfy the “gift giving” in me is that I started giving gifts to Steve, Hayden, and William from our boys' pets, Crash & Coconut. That was totally seen through by Steve (insert giggle giggle)! Of course, if the pets were truly giving the gifts, they wouldn’t leave me out, would they? So, after Steve, Hayden, and William opened their gift from the dogs, I went to the tree and said excitedly, “Well, here’s one for me!”. The first year that happened we all just rolled in laughter – I got myself a fabulous jacket (insert giggle giggle)! So, this year my "gift" collectively from “Hayden, William, Crash, and Coconut” was a coffee mug that said, “World’s Greatest Mom”. It only cost $3.99 from TJ MAXX and I bought it in the impulse aisle while checking out. It got a huge laugh! I use it every morning.
So, are you a good mother? What makes a good mom? Well, that’s a loaded question and one that I’m sure past generations of moms have asked themselves just as future moms will continue to do. In my book, INSERT GIGGLE GIGGLE, Laughing Your Way through Raising Kids and Running a Business, I explore this question in a dedicated chapter as well as glimpses of this question in other chapters addressing if we treat our children the same, picking your battles with your children, and other “mom/parent/child” issues. In my book, I give tons of examples of parenting my two boys, Hayden (now 32) and William (now 29). The mistakes I made were immense, the joys I had were even greater, and all in all the reward of seeing these two boys grow into wonderful men is even bigger than that. How much of that is contributable to me and to Steve? Who knows, so let’s look at that a little.
Steve and I were married 10 years before we had Hayden, by choice. And even after 10 years of marriage, I (and we) was not “ready”. I was nervous about the changes that this was going to make in our lives. Was I ready to “give up” so much? We used to joke that many times the Sunday paper was already in our driveway by the time we rolled in from our Saturday night exploits! Boy, was I in for a wonderful surprise! Give up so much? What’s going out to dinner and traveling whenever we wanted to in any way comparable to the baby that we now had? We were in love with this child and all efforts and events seemed to now revolve around him, gladly.
I was a working mother. When Hayden was 10 weeks old, I went back to work. I had a very lucrative job and giving up that type of income would have been very hard. But, hey, in steps my mom, Nana. She worked part-time at a neighboring day care center with their preschool children and there was also a fabulous infant caregiver, Ms. Mary. So, I dropped Hayden off each day with Ms. Mary (of course with check-ins throughout the morning from Nana) and then after lunch, my mom brought Hayden to her home for me to pick up after I got off from work. Perfect. Until he was in kindergarten (which included a move to Houston when he was a year old), his care was a mixture of me staying home for a bit then getting a nanny (in Houston) and then moving back to Atlanta when he was 3, William born a couple of months later, and me being at home while we were planning the opening of our family business, a preschool. The preschool opened when Hayden started kindergarten and William was 2, so you can figure out how their care went from there~~that is until Steve became the best stay-at-home dad!
A CNN Business article discusses a Harvard study that conducted an investigation that suggests that girls that grow up with a mother that works outside the home have a higher trajectory in their own careers and that boys of working moms spend more time each week taking care of their families. Interesting huh? The headline of this article read, “Kids of working moms are better off". So, there you have it moms – hand over your kids because all moms want their kids to be “better off”, right...(insert giggle giggle). I will say that my son, Hayden, credits a lot of his business success and work ethic due to listening to me problem-solve work issues with my team while riding along in the car with me for years as I drove him more than 45 minutes each way to his middle-school. Now that he tells me that, I think it sounds like I should have been interacting with him instead, and if you know me and Hayden, you know that there was a ton of that going on as well (insert giggle giggle!), but this is his remembrance of those car rides. Thank goodness he feels something good came out of it or boy would I feel like a bad mom…the guilt we moms put on ourselves….Geez!
But us moms - none of us are the same type of mom as someone else. Sometimes we aren’t even the same type of mom to our own children. You can read about this topic as well, in more detail in my book. We all make our choices as moms based on not only what we feel is the right thing for us as a person, but what we think is best for each child, and for our family structure; and, you know what, most times you may not even realize that you are making this conscious decision – life may just happen that way.
I propose in my book that you really don’t know what kind of mother you are/were until your children are grown and some of the things they remember growing up, gets told back to you, and just like with you, maybe this is not even a conscious occurrence. Something just happens that sparks a memory for them to recall or maybe something is just said by them in a certain moment about you or about their childhood. This has happened to me, more than once with my two boys. You can really get a glimpse into what things you did as a mom that stood out for your child ~ maybe a funny mannerism or habit of yours, maybe something you experienced together, favorite family foods and events, even a form of discipline or when you "gave in" to something important to them (at the moment...insert giggle giggle) ~ memories precious to them (and now to you).....because what kind of mother you are/were was never about you – it’s about your child.
I think I maybe over-mothered. I loved my boys (and still do) so fiercely that I thought there’s no other mother that could love their child as much as I love mine. I even said that to William once when Hayden left for college, and I was so sad. He just laughed at me and set me straight that all moms love their children the same as me. It was a laughable moment as I reflected on that a couple of days later and giggled in confession to my mom girlfriends. But what William felt (thankfully) about how all mothers love their child, unfortunately is not completely true. What a sad thing to see a child be robbed of their mother’s love due to any number of circumstances. This is something that a child may never fully recover from, and you know what, a mother might not either.
So, being a mother. It’s the greatest job in the world. None of us do it full-time or part-time whether our circumstances are being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. I think I am the World's Greatest Mom ~ you know why? ~ I have the World's Greatest Kids!
I’ll leave you with a big giggle giggle….go to the internet and search for the video, “World’s Toughest Job – for our moms” and watch the full 6.59 minute version. Then call your mom.
Next up…..Are You a Strong Woman? I think I am.....?
Always remember to insert a giggle giggle...and love your kids ~~ Kay 😊