It's Mother's Day and I've been trying to come up with a fitting tribute to my mom and motherhood in general. They say God could not be everywhere so He created mothers. My mother had 5 children in eight years so she really didn't have time to be everywhere. But she did teach me some very important lessons that I have taken with me in life (and occasionally imposed on my own children).
No singing at the dinner table. This may seem like an arbitrary rule, but in a family of seven, who had very different personalities and routinely got on each other's nerves, this was a sacred rule at our house. And it saved my mother from having to listen to "On Top of Spaghetti" for the 50th time while trying to eat. I first imposed this rule when my second child entered preschool and could only remember one line of any given song.
Dress up whenever possible. I often wondered why my mother put on her nice clothes whenever she got the chance to leave the house without us, but now I know: there were adults where she was going. People who would (presumably) not grab her skirt with sticky fingers or spit up on her blouse. That in itself was reason enough to celebrate with a nice pantsuit and a spritz of Emerude.
Read, read, and read. My mother was never without a book. If ever there was a woman who needed an escape, even if it was only for the five minutes before someone broke out in screaming fit, it was my mother. The one place she routinely took all of us kids together was the library. Not only could she stock up on her one "drug", but it made her look like a good parent to boot.
Let them be bored. I remember summers as a time of doing a lot of nothing. No trips to Disneyland, no drives across the country to visit the Grand Canyon. We had the swim lessons and camping trips (with all 5 kids in one tent and my parents in their own), but most of vacation was spent hanging out in the neighborhood or the backyard. Televisions were turned off by 10 am and then we were on our own. I've tried this with my own kids and they mope around complaining that they're bored. That's when I give them two choices: upstairs or outside.
If your brother is bothering you , stay away from him! By the time I came into the picture, my mother had had enough of bickering siblings. If I complained about my brother picking on me, I rarely received much sympathy. The only time I remember her stepping in and mediating one of these conflicts is when my brother called me a name that had to do with some one's nether region. It was a term I didn't know (though I suspected it wasn't good) so I asked my mom, who then asked me where I'd heard such a word. Revenge is best served by a little sister. And really, how much of world conflict could be prevented if one warring faction just stayed out of the living room?
So Happy Belated Mother's Day--now my mom knows I really was listening (once or twice). Perhaps my kids will learn a lesson or two from me, but I hope it's something good and not "Never shove stuff under your bed when your mother-in-law comes to stay."