Excerpt: 'Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom'

When we see our mom exhibit strength, it makes us strong. When we see our mom "let things roll off her back" it teaches us patience and compassion. When we see our mom challenge herself and dare to try new things, it teaches us that we too can expect greater things of ourselves. Motherhood is one of the most important and challenging jobs in the world! The rewards are rich, but the demands can be overwhelming. Every day we do our best to take care of our home and our family and help make them happy, healthy and successful. It's been said many times that "kids don't come with instruction books." Most of us feel so unprepared when we become parents. However we all have actually spent many years preparing under the tutelage of our moms; we have learned by example and know much more than we think we do.

When I was little, my mom picked me up from school every day and took me to my dance lessons and piano lessons and singing lessons. When I look back on it, she truly was a taxi service. On weekends I had parades, shows and recitals. She was my stylist and my assistant. Yet when we would get home, it always smelled so good in the house. When I asked Mom how she did that, with all the running around she did for us, she said, "As soon as we'd get home I would run right in to the kitchen and put some onions into a pan with some butter and start cooking them, and that would make the whole house smell good." Those are the little things we remember.

I think being a mom used to be much easier in general, for it was more defined and the responsibilities and roles were not questioned. Today we don't know if we are supposed to stay at home and take care of kids, or hold down a job and help support the family, or both. And if we do both, how do we do that, and do both jobs well? Can we be as good as our mothers, who devoted themselves only to taking care of us? Today's mothers juggle many balls, struggle with overwhelming schedules so that their children can play every possible sport and take every special class, and yet always feel like we are not spending enough time… with our kids, on our jobs or volunteer activities, with our mates, supporting older parents, or maintaining our homes.

Now that we have it all, how do we do it all? I remember my early days on television, before working mothers were as common, when I brought my babies to work while I was breastfeeding. In those days I'd start Good Morning America as Joan Lunden and end the show as Dolly Parton! One particular morning I was interviewing a U.S. Senator about then President Ronald Reagan's "trickle down" economics. You may remember that economic theory, but what I remember about that interview is that all of a sudden I was experiencing inflation and "trickle down" firsthand. It was time for my baby Jamie to feed and my boobs knew it. I'll never forget frantically blow-drying my very wet silk blouse during commercial break.

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