Mothers come in all sizes, shapes, colours, ages, and dispositions. Mothers have been vilified and mocked, glorified and revered, often by the same people on different days.
To say the mother-child relationship is complicated is to state the obvious. In the beginning we look to mom for our very survival. In our teens (and terrible twos) we begin to put some distance between her and us. We leave home with mixed feelings: euphoric and terrified at the prospect of this long-awaited distance and freedom to be our own person. Sometimes the relationship with mother is the most supportive, nurturing, loving one of our lives. Other times we can’t shake the judgmental, nagging, intrusive, guilt-inducing shadow over all we do.
When we become mothers we either aspire to be all our mother was to us or vow never to let those ? those … “mother-words” come out of our mouths; to do so much better ourselves; to avoid the mistakes and the pitfalls that tripped up dear old mom.
Mothers are usually the stabilizing force in the family, the glue that holds all of us together. She’s the role model and the conscience. She’s the tireless worker and selfless one.
In our ?always on? culture we see examples of courageous, passionate mothers like Leah Parsons, mother to Rehtaeh or Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother coping publicly with the unimaginable?the suicide of a child. We see mothers like these working to turn heartbreaking tragedy into a meaningful legacy.
In other examples of mothers who become famous because of their children we have Andrea Finlay (Taylor Swift’s mom), Pattie Mallette (mom to the Bieb), and Kris Jenner (matriarch to those who are famous for being famous). It’s not uncommon for athletes and actors to thank their, often single, moms for working two jobs and sacrificing all for their children.
For comic relief, and to solidify time-honoured stereotypes, we’ve got some classic TV moms. Beverly Goldberg’s bouffant hair and over-the-top sweaters pale in comparison to her meddling, over-bearing, mother bear approach to parenting Adam, Erica, and Barry. Though we’ve never seen her face, can anyone forget Howard Wolowitz’s mom? The Jewish mother personified?at full volume. Peg Bundy in her animal prints and stilettos brought sexy (but an arm’s length approach) to mothering.
Closer to home there’s my mom who, at eighty-two, is still trying to teach her kids and grandkids, whether It’s how to make pyrohy or volunteer. Or my daughter-in-law Carrie who is fighting soul destroying exhaustion to raise Kade and Grady and doing a wonderful job.
This Sunday, whether we are honouring or being honoured, take a moment to say thanks to the woman who gave you life. Say a prayer of gratitude for the lives you’ve borne. Soak up the adoration and gifts. Stay the hell out of the kitchen. Relax, enjoy. And finally, count yourself as a proud member of that tribe called Mother, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..