My mom was an education major in college. She went to Ole Miss, but moved to Huntsville with my dad before her graduation so he could work for the Space Program. She turned down being the president of her sorority to marry my dad and move with him to Alabama. I'm sure it was a tough one, but I think she made the right decision. After they moved to Jackson she finished up her education and got her degree from Bellhaven. She really never felt confident in a classroom, so she tutored and then worked retail for a bit.
She left the work force for a couple of decades to be a stay at home mom. She now works part time in the Bridal Registry at Batte Furniture. I'm pretty sure that making sure that the ignorant young brides of today know what a Demitasse cup is unequivocally her calling.
I read a lot of "mommy blogs". Full of surprises, aren't I? Some of these blogs are really positive and it feels like the person writing them never has a bad day. I hate that. Just Kidding. Kind of. Anyway, some of them are very, very real. Sometimes, I feel like in an effort to "keep it real"(something I strive for on my blog), these women fill every post with complaints. And a lot of it is complaints about child rearing. I hear it in real life, too.
These moms lament the boring nature of staying home with a child full time. They complain about the tedious "work" of playing with a toddler. They bemoan the fact that they have limited adult interaction. And they jokingly say they despise Sesame Street characters. They are "too cool for school". Or rather, they are too cool for their children.
I won't say I've never had those feelings. I won't even say that I've never blogged about them. But it is not where I find myself most days.
And I think that is due, in large part, to my own mother and her attitude toward raising my sister and me. My mom did not work a day outside the home from the day I came home from the hospital until the day my sister graduated high school. But I think that if someone ever made a BonBon reference* about her to me, I'd have to work hard to resist punching them in the face.
[*You know.....the typical stereotype of the stay at home mom sitting on the couch eating BonBons and watching Oprah as her children play quietly in another room.]
In fact, my mom did not watch a single talk show, soap opera, or morning show during our entire childhood. I do think she watched some television in the evenings with my dad, but ask her much of anything related to pop culture during the late eighties and early nineties and unless it's child related, she pretty much has no idea.
Because she was simply too busy. She and my dad waited *ten* years to even began to try to have children, because once she had us she wanted to devote herself fully to our care. And that she did. She spent hours playing "Mother, May I?" in the backyard with us. She made every single activity, like going to the grocery store or getting ready for bed, a fun adventure. She hardly ever lost patience with my endless questions and my ridiculous anxieties. She read an unbelievable amount of literature to us. She threw the most fantastic birthday parties. She totally immersed herself in mothering.
But that is not the impressive part. The impressive part is that she took such joy in every moment of it. Of course, I am sure that those aforementioned mommies do not often tell their children how boring and uninteresting they are. But, there's a thing called a vibe and there's no telling how much of it they are picking up on. I asked my mom about it when Ann Peyton was born. She said honestly she really did enjoy us that much. I think part of it has to do with how much she and my dad struggled to have us once they decided to start trying and part of it is just her nature.
I know that some women are more suited to the tasks of spending their day with a small child than others and there is nothing wrong with that; different parents "click" with their children at different ages. I am also fully aware that this type of "child centered" parenting is not without it's faults.
But that is not the point of this post. The point is to say that my mom did her "job" wonderfully. Beautifully. Seemingly effortlessly.
She is my inspiration in so many ways.