I Am the Best Mom I Can Be

 I grew up with a neurotic mother who was pumped full of valium, which was the tranquilizer of choice in the 1960s.  My dad was rather aloof and was at work most of the time, and my mom never tried to engage in a relationship with me.  She was a strict disciplinarian; I had an extremely early bedtime and if I mouthed off to her, which was often, she'd sic my dad on me when he got home.  He'd come into my room, which I'd been confined to, remove his belt from his slacks and tell me to pull down my pants.  I knew he was only doing it because mom had ordered it and hated her so much when I was growing up.  If she was so upset she couldn't hold back, I got the back of her hand across my face.

I vowed that I would never be like her.  My best friend, who lived two doors down, had a terrific mother.  She was a strict disciplinarian as well, but smothered her children with love and affection and conversed with them regularly.  She wanted to know what was going on in their lives.   They adored her, were top-notch students and grew up to be successful, well-adjusted adults.  She was my role model.

I've always endeavored to parent as she did.  I'm tough but know when they need to learn for themselves and even make mistakes, difficult as that is.  I've never had to raise a hand to them as I made sure that I taught them respect from toddlerhood.  Just a look and they knew not to touch.  A conversation about expectations before going shopping or out somewhere was all it took.  Consistency and persistence when punishment was inevitably dished out.  

My kids aren't perfect.  I'm not perfect.  But my kids love me, respect me and are grown (or growing, as I still have two teens at home) into strong and independent young women, capable of loving, learning and respect for the differences in us all.

I'm proud that, although I did inherit some of her traits, I was able to love my girls enough to respect them and teach them to respect me.  I'm proud of who they're becoming, so I must have done something right.

BTW, I saw that neighbor a few years ago -- the one that was my role model -- and told her what I thought of her as a mother.  She always hears about my kids from my mother, and I'm pretty sure I done her proud, too.

silkcorduroy silkcorduroy
46-50, F
Mar 25, 2009