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A New Perspective On My Own Mother

I don’t think I’m being original in saying that I had a love-hate relationship with my mom growing up. My dad was around too, but he’s more the laid back type and left the discipline duties to my mom. She was so strict (midnight curfew on my prom night!). I didn’t think she listened to me. I didn’t think she acted rational. I couldn’t understand her and I thought she made no effort to understand me. We clashed, and even though I didn’t outright rebel during my teenage years, we definitely hit a low point during those years.

Now we have a really close relationship. Of course part of it is that I matured, and she mellowed. I mean, I was the oldest, and her only daughter. But a crucial development also came about, which has put the way she raised me in a whole new light. I became a mother, myself.

How can I not understand her better? All she wanted, like I want now, is to see my daughter protected, safe, from all the ugliness of the world. Can I shelter her too much, like I thought I had been? Sure, but I can also understand where she was coming from now. She had a baby younger than I did, she and my dad had their own struggles, and she raised us the way she knew how. She did her best. Just like I’m doing my best.

When I was little, my Mom would often say, Oh wait till you have your own child! And now I do. And now its my turn to try my hand at parenting. I’m not gonna do it perfect. I already know that. Right now, I cringe at all the little, evil ways the world tries to corrupt children. How do I protect my own daughter from doing drugs? Underage drinking, or sexual relationship at an early age? How do I protect her from the media bombardment of the message that she has to look a certain way, act a certain way, be a certain woman to be considered desirable, successful, and complete? Heck if I know. But I’ll do my best. Like my mom did her best.

If I could, I would screen her friends, wave a wand so everybody will be kind to her, generous with her, loving with her. And I’d sprinkle some pixie dust and it would make sure she was healthy, happy, immune to depression and sadness, and ugliness in life. You know, all the usual things Moms want. Midnight curfews didn’t sound reasonable to me back in the days, but it sounds like a great idea to me now.

Of course I know, that in life you have to take the good with the bad. But I’ve got my Mom to thank. For all the struggles she had raising me, I learned from her as well. Thanks, Mom!

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