Sunday, May 10, 2015

Another Mother's Day...Oh My!

Happy Mother’s Day. Today I have the privilege of being able to look at Mother’s Day from a new perspective. The cynic in me says this is another one of our trumped up days designed to generate business for card companies, florists, jewelers, restaurants, etc. The reality is every day is mother’s day, but there are special ones that stand out.
Uncle Jacob with the new addition
My daughter-in-law celebrates one of those today. Her first. Her son won’t be a week old until tomorrow. Like all of us when we were new mothers, she is, or will be, going through the overwhelmed, self-doubting, exhausted phases of parenting (I’m still waiting for that to stop—just kidding). There is nothing like a baby to blow up your entire existence. Many times what you imagined, dreamed, pictured, envisioned, planned, or scheduled gets tossed out the window. I remember reading an article while I was pregnant about an exhausted new mom who said, “I just want things to get back to normal.”
Normal, as defined by your existence as a single woman, then a married woman is gone forever. The author of the article sagely informed the new mom that she would have to find a “new” normal. Well, that’s not exactly true. There is no more normal. That’s the truism. Every day will be different. Some of those days will be wonderful, and they will stand out in your memory. Some of those days will be terrible. Those, too, have a way of standing out in your memory. Some will just be—days.
The biggest thing to know is despite all the books that can tell new moms how to insert tab A into slot B, there really is no owners’ manual on how YOU should parent YOUR baby or what is best for you and your family. Those decisions are yours to make, and you don’t really need to justify them to anyone, including your own mom.
I am lucky in having a mother who took the time to make sure each one of her four kids got attention, but not so much that we couldn’t function. Part of that might have been juggling four kids to raise, I don’t know. What I do know is that every one of us turned out to be very distinct individuals with very different personalities. We had the freedom to grow into thinking, caring adults who found our own paths in life. To me, that’s what being a parent is all about. It’s not smothering your child with too much attention. It’s not tossing your kid out when things get tough (although, yes, there are times that’s tempting). It’s knowing when to hold them close as well as when to give them that push, like the proverbial mama bird pushing babies out of the nest.
My mother is my greatest cheerleader (still). That is one of the best parts of being a mom. Whether they’re your kids by birth or by choice, you get to be in the corner for your kids cheering them on and praying like hell they don’t make some of the same mistakes you did growing up.
So, Happy Mother’s Day. 
Tuesday, my new book, Special Delivery releases. The heroine is a new mom. Please remember, this is fiction where babies don't spit up, howl, or poop all over the new swing. That's the wonderful aspect of writing fiction. I can ignore some of those realities of being a new parent.

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