Monday, July 24, 2017

My Mom Didn't Just Feed Me Sometimes

My Mom Didn't Just Feed Me Sometimes...

This photo has come across my social media screens multiple times over the past few days. I initially thought it was funny, and of course, reflective of not only 2017 but the past decade of child raising. It's way too much!  I think back to my first pregnancy and I tried so hard to have a 'perfect' pregnancy. I gave up caffeine - and soda is my addiction.  I completely stopped the pop.  I ended up on complete bed rest at 24 weeks, and my son was born at 33 weeks and had to remain in the hospital for about 7 more weeks.  I remember thinking that I probably didn't need Dr. Ob-Gyn, what my son needed was Dr. Pepper.  Babies 2 and 3 enjoyed a few sips of Dr. Pepper along their in utero journey.  As the years went on, I watched pregnant women cease to eat a growing number of foods, and all I could think of was - thank goodness my babies are out.  This eating ban would stress me out.

So I read this post from a college orientation and I think, no - nope - my mother did not just feed me. As I did not just feed my children.  Here's just a small list of things that I believe she did, and taught me to do with my own children, and they are by no means easy:

  • She told me no, when I really, really, really needed just one thing.  Just one. Because I didn't really, really, really need it. She knew that.
  • She made me earn my own money for ridiculously expensive items.  For example, every year she would buy me the required school clothes, but when I had to have the sweet Jordache Jeans with the yellow stitching of the horse on my back pocket, I had to earn the money to pay for those.  She seemed to feel that the Wranglers from Kmart were probably good enough. Actually, I think that was my dad who believed that.
  • Speaking of him, she made me tell him when I made a small slip in judgment with my behavior. She didn't cover for me and this was probably one of the worst consequences in all of the land.  I'm sure they had a great laugh after I left the room. Or at least patted themselves on the back for a job well done.
  • She worked. My dad worked.  We ate fast food.  It often was Burger Chef. Do you remember that chain?  I ate dinner every night (we didn't check the GMO's and all that is mentioned now).  My cholesterol is just fine and I'm 40 something. However, she taught me to go to work everyday and earn the money you need to provide for your family.  I can't really cook, but I can read a recipe book and use it if I want to.  
  • Speaking of food...I didn't like to eat breakfast but she made me eat something. Many times I'd eat a lunch food item. I hated breakfast. I remember getting sick at school one morning and they asked what I had for breakfast.  I had to tell them vegetable soup. I'm sure she didn't feel great picking me up that day with those who judge for not making me eat cereal, but this was how she got me to eat in the morning.
  • There were rules, consequences, and follow-through.  I think this is hard.
  • Finally, school - as an educator I have a hunch there were many times my mother was upset with the school or a teacher.  Guess what?  I didn't really know about it (well, I did one time).  She didn't jump to my defense instantly, especially in front of me.  No conversations with or about any teachers happened in front of me. If I was upset, she listened, but didn't assume naturally that I was always right. She just took care of things with grace and respect (or advised me about how I needed to handle it) and thankfully did not publicly post on social media about my teachers.

I said 'finally' above.  There's no finally.  She's still my mom and now a grandma too.  It's never done, and it's never as simple as feeding us sometimes.  I know the author in the picture absolutely meant that tongue in cheek, and with sarcasm. However, as long as there's no outright neglect and abuse, let everyone parent as they choose and as their lifestyle and economic situation allows them parent.  Don't judge.  I drank soda, and bottle fed my kids (I know, I said bottle fed, take a moment).  They are alive and well today (see below).  And I think they are fantastic!

I know it's been a while...thanks for sticking around!