Mark Twain had an interesting saying: “My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” That sounds like an excellent description of many Moms. They put up with so much while they never stop loving.
And there are lots of other things we can say about mothers. In many cases, they gave up their career to raise children. And did they get any thanks for that? Do they ever get the thanks they deserve for all they do for us?
Perhaps it’s true that many mothers draw the short straw regardless. Is it summed up in the following question and answer? “Do you work, madam?” “No, I’m a housewife.”
And while there are plenty of substitutes for a mother – a nanny, babysitter, grandmother, godmother, and neighbor, there is only ever one genuine fact that a mother is a mother.
Someone once calculated the salary owed to those Moms who do the daily routine of cooking, cleaning, fixing lunches, making the school run, washing, ironing, shopping, taking the dog to the vet, the kids to ballet and basketball, caring for an elderly relative and finishing the homework for their offspring. No one could afford her. She is owed a small fortune.
Yet from a tax point of view, mothers are frequently classed as providing ‘intangible labor’. Surely that has to be an oxymoron?
Actually, a recent survey of some 12,000 mothers calculated that for all the time and tasks Moms spend working at home, they should be paid more than $120,000 a year.
But is that the real value of our Mom? Can we even think about a price? Just consider what they go through simply to become a mother. Many have a tough time when expecting. They worry about their child before he or she is born. They may have a longer delivery and all so that their baby can enter this brave new world.
That alone is worth our eternal thanks but the true value of our Mom is just the beginning. As a baby we are dependent; totally, and so often, sometimes exclusively, on our Mom who feeds, washes, bathes, dresses, entertains, and cares for us. We don’t owe her much; only our life.
A mom is always a mom. She’s never off duty. She might become a grandmother and start her mothering all over but she will always treat her child or children as just that. She may ask them to leave the nest, throw them out or beg them to stay but never forget, she is always your Mom.
Some mothers have more than one child. Some have many. And while they may learn various tricks of the mothering trade, with each new infant they simply keep on keeping on.
We’ve already touched on a mother’s career and the fact that many mothers give up their vocation altogether or in part so as to be full-time moms. Then there are many mothers who change to a less demanding career with hours of work to suit their kids being home from school or on vacation.
And no matter how understanding employers become, no matter how things like job-sharing and daycare at work become available, mothers are still having to make choices when it comes to a baby and a job.
And in many cases, those mothers who choose to be stay-at-home maoms are given inadequate support from the government and other agencies. Why? What greater job, what more important task can anyone perform than that of lovingly raising her child?
The role, responsibility, and importance of a mother has and will never change, it’s just that now many are expected to do a second job as well. For thousands of years, there were peasants working in the field who stopped long enough to give birth before returning to their task. For them, there was no hospital bed, medical staff, and equipment.
But despite giant steps forward in medical science, women are still conceiving, carrying, delivering, and raising their children. The more things change the more they stay the same.
Bern Williams is quoted as saying, “Sooner or later we all quote our mothers.” If that’s true it begs the question why? Are mothers naturally wise? Do they have some special insight into the human condition?
Undoubtedly they are wise and we would learn so much if only we paid attention. Here are some classic examples of the wit and wisdom of Moms:
- My mother taught me about religion when she said, “You’d better pray that stain comes out of the carpet”.
- My Mom taught me how to be flexible when she said, “Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck?”
- My mother taught me about stamina when she said, “You’ll sit there until all those vegetables get eaten”.
- And my Mom taught me to be prepared when she said, “Always wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a bus”.
We cannot quantify the debt we owe to our mothers but can understand when Olive Schreiner said, “There was never a great man who had not a great mother.”
Happy Mother’s Day, to the Moms of the world, with all you do one day is not enough.
In loving memory of my Mom – Mrs. Lilly Green Lewis (1924-2007)
Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis is the President/CEO of the Executive Women’s Success Institute (www.exwsi.com) in Maryland. She is a career strategist, professional speaker, trainer, financial literacy advocate, consultant, and the author of “Finding Your Best Inside: How to Become the Person You Are Meant to Be” and “Playing from the Blue Tee: Women in the Federal Government.” Contact her for career coaching, speaking engagements, media interviews, quantity book purchases, and any opportunity that will allow her to continue her mission to help others succeed at Email: email@example.com.