April 9th, 2008


another way to look at your mother

Today Mary and I were talking about what it was like when I was a young mother. I told her how I would feel distracted all the time, how I slipped out of work to take Mary and Elaine to gymnastics or someplace else, how I never felt I had it together. I said I really envied those who had family nearby who could provide support, but on the other hand if my real family were nearby they likely would not have offered that much support anyway. The babysitters I found were often worse than none, and I gave up on them maybe too soon. I didn't date, couldn't even think about that, and I was sure all of us would have been better off if I had. I said I was always looking at other mothers in similar situations and wondering how they managed to do it so much better than I did. Mary has many of these same feelings.

It occurred to me that the same kind of conversation between a young mother, struggling to cope, and her perfect mother, could be devastating.

Young mom: Mom, how did you do it? Everything was always organized and we got places on time and you always had good meals on the table and it all seemed so easy for you.

Older mom: Well, dear, it really was easy. It just seemed to fall in place. I had a sense of what I should do and I did it. I guess I was lucky things turned out the way they did.

How would that young mom feel then?