Why I’m turning into my mother, and that’s a good thing:
Recently I had coffee with a friend who I’ve known since elementary school. We lived in the same neighborhood as kids and we spent lots of time together playing and having fun. When we were enjoying our coffee together, she told me something that both surprised me and honored the memory of my mom. As she spoke, it hit me that my mom’s way of mothering is exactly how I treat my own children. I was pleasantly surprised to realize I’m turning into my mother, and it’s actually a good thing.
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My friend said she had recently been asked who she emulated her motherhood after, who inspired her to be the kind of mom she strives to be, and her answer was…my mom. I was shocked at first. But, as we talked, her words opened my eyes. I realized she was right to pick my mom and that I was emulating my mother’s style of mothering myself without actually realizing it.
I reflected on my own motherhood as our conversation continued and it struck me hard like a dunk in a cold Minnesota spring lake that I act like my mother too, it just wasn’t in any way a conscious action on my part, which makes it even more beautiful.
Friends are Family
I smiled further as I thought about how I am with my children’s friends because I realized my mother was the same way with my friends when I was a kid. She always welcomed them into our home and made them feel comfortable.
My mother treated our home as something to be fully used and loved. It wasn’t a shrine of perfection. Nothing was covered in plastic and stains on the carpet from spills were treated as accidents, not as sins.
Our home was as much to my family as it was to visitors a fountain of love bubbling over with generosity, smiles, and cheesy nachos, chips, ice cream. Filled with M & M’s and licorice, movies and games and answers of “yes” when we asked if we could do something fun.
Our kitchen was one where my friends could feel comfortable grabbing snacks if they were hungry and my mother would just smile at them as they rummaged in the pantry cupboard or the fridge. She’d assist if needed or asked. But she never complained, only asked them if they found something they liked. Of course, she had a smile on her face as she asked.
I do this with my son’s friends, and I feel good knowing they feel comfortable enough to treat my home as if it were there’s too.
I loved growing up in a home where friends were always welcome and could lounge about on our couches as if they lived there too. Friends just felt relaxed in our home and they wanted to come over. I never realized what a blessing that really was back then until I became a mom myself.
I’m Really Turning into My Mother
As I reflect on my own mothering, I’m succeeding at turning into my mother, and that’s really wonderful. It doesn’t make me cringe, I love it. I’m savoring this joyful realization on Mother’s Day as I remember my mother. I miss her terribly, lost her when I was sixteen, and I wish I could somehow tell her how honored I am that her way of mothering me lead me to be the mother I am today.
She made our home comfortable for everyone who stepped inside. Everyone was important. Everyone was welcome. She would just give and give and give, and then give some more. At her funeral, the pastor quoted me when he said, “She could do everything” and she could, she was an amazing mom. An amazing mother. How lucky I was to have had her as a mother.
Life is Messy, and that is to be Celebrated
Our house growing up was not immaculate or untouchable by any means, almost everything had been fair game for play and could be touched. It was clean, usually, but it was not clutter-free. But it was a home that was clearly lived in and loved. Piles of papers sat on our counter like giant to-do lists, piled high with plans and hopes to engage with. Magnets and pictured lined our fridge. We could make forts and leave them up for days. It was not a perfect house, no where near perfect, yet it was perfect to us. We had a fun mom, and we had so much fun!
This has SO become my own house. I strive to be the fun mom, moreover, the forgiving mom. Fun is highlighted over perfection. Enjoyment comes before cleaning up, we can always clean up later! It’s not going anywhere, it just doesn’t matter if it takes a while to accomplish. I just don’t care.
I would rather have my kids remember the awesome fort I let them keep for days, a fort they played games in, watched movies in, ate snacks in, rather than a clean spotless open expanse of carpet that snarled at them to “Keep off so you don’t ruin the vacuum lines”. I’ve come to accept the vacuum is pulled out when needed, but vacuum lines are a puff of smoke that just don’t matter.
This was also so much how my mother was in her motherhood.
My Mother was Kind
My mother was kind to everyone. She had a smile for all. Kindness ran deep in her and as I feel myself sinking into those essential memories of her, it brings tears to my eyes even though she passed away so many years ago. She was not only kind to everyone, but kindness was so massive in her heart, so solid, she just breathed it out in excess to all in her presence. I mean, of course, she had her faults, we all do, but her heart was stuffed to overflowing with kindness. And that’s the kind of mother I want to be and if I can even emulate a bit of that to my own kids, I’m doing damn good.
There. I admit it. I’m turning into my mom, and I’m happy about it. I’d be honored to be like her.
I love my three boys with a fierceness that is undefinable. My devotion to them is laced between all the cells of my body knitting me into the person I am today, into the mother I am today. I could not be who I am without having brought them into the world. Each of them is a joy and I’m honored as I see threads of strong devotion to me in their words and actions; I honestly think they would do anything for me and that tells me my mother taught me a lot about how to be the best kind of mother.
I know my mother felt this way about my sister and me, it was obvious in how she mothered us. As I miss her today, on this Mother’s Day, I am grateful I had such an amazing teacher in her. She was the best one I could have ever hoped for.
But, really, it’s not that I don’t make mistakes, I do, but, having been blessed with my mom as an example has taught me so much more than I realized. She taught me to love unconditionally, to be generous, to live self-sacrifice for others, to be kind and genuine. And, really, it’s not the messes that matter, it’s the fun.
I have had forts up in our home for days and I celebrated it. I get it, how to be the fun mom, because my wonderful Mom taught me. Thank you, Mom, up in heaven where you are, please know, I am thankful for how you gifted me my motherhood through shining through your own.
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