A Mother’s Day Review

A Mother’s Day Review

From A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul

A Mother’s Day Review

Ah, Mother’s Day. Used to be it was a day to sit back and relax. Who could ask for more than a wake-up call of toast heaped with chunky peanut butter and dripping with jam, coffee lukewarm, half sugar, half cream? I loved being able to take it easy for at least that one holiday.

But a recent conversation with a neighbor gave me a case of the guilts. “How can you let such a great opportunity for self-improvement pass you by?” she chided. “Now’s the time to examine how you’re doing in your role as a mother. Think about all you’ve learned that you never read in books! Think about all you’ve learned about yourself. Think about what it means to be a real mother!”

As much as I try to avoid getting too philosophical while piecing together Mr. Potato Head or trying to pull gum out of someone’s socks, I decided to give the self-evaluation stuff a try. I started with thinking about the early days.

Amazingly enough, I realized I did know something I’d never read in a book—all babies are born with an innate sense that urges them to cry and demand immediate attention if their mother should attempt any of the following: a warm meal, a long-distance phone call, a good book, a hot bath or sex. My kids are older now, and about the only changes I’ve noticed are that food can be good cold, magazines are quicker to read than books and cold showers diminish the desire for sex.

Then I thought of something else I learned. It’s perfectly normal for kids to get sick when the doctor’s office is closed. This habit used to send me into a panic, trying to determine what rare disease my child had and if I should call the doctor’s service or just head straight for the hospital. I’m smarter now. My first call is to a friend who has five kids, for her opinion.

I’ve learned some unpublished facts about nutrition, too. I know a two-year-old can survive on yogurt, Cheerios and raisins for extended periods of time; that at first, raisins come out looking pretty much like they did going in, and that anything covered in ketchup is gourmet to kids. I also know that peanut butter, besides being almost impossible to clean off a high chair, is a great hair conditioner.

Further thought made me realize that I have learned some things about myself. I’ve learned that if I could find someone who would pay me a nickel for every time I thought, “My kids will never . . .” and they did, I’d be a millionaire. And even though my wonderful offspring sometimes do not react at all when I’m speaking, I do still speak English and can be heard and understood by other people in the room. In addition, I’ve discovered that if I don’t have some time to myself, I tend to get ugly. I’ve learned that for me to be a good (most of the time) and sane (some of the time) mother, I need a good friend who shares the same ideas and ideals of motherhood. I’ve also learned that if every once in a while I think how peaceful it would be without my kids, it doesn’t mean I don’t love them—it simply means I need a break.

And I do know what it means to be a real mother! It means that on our very bad days, my method of survival relies on reciting, “This, too, shall pass” and that on most days, I know that this, too, shall pass—too quickly.

Bring on the toast!

Paula (Bachleda) Koskey

“Happy Mother’s Day”

©Reprinted with permission of Bill Canty.

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