From the very start, a mom’s love holds us up and never lets go.
Hallmark Card – $3.99
One hundred and forty-one million of us will send our mothers flowery, emotion-filled Mother’s Day cards this month without thinking about how complicated an occupation motherhood is. And I’m not so sure that’s entirely a good thing.
Motherhood is a difficult job with a harsh requirement that is decidedly unsentimental, as in ultimately nudging the fledgling out of the nest with your fingers crossed that the chick will fly!
Being a mother is a constant seesawing between helping the child succeed and allowing him/her to go it alone. The same qualities that make a wonderful mother to a dependent infant can actually be harmful to the son/daughter on the brink of adulthood.
Being protective and clucking over your child can be appropriate at one stage but not at another when almost imperceptibly the previously suitable behavior slips into smothering and enabling. The dilemma is figuring out when that time arrives because one day you’ll be helping your toddler button her sweater and seemingly the next day your teenaged stranger won’t let you into her room.
It is wholly fitting and genuinely loving to celebrate our mothers and acknowledge their selfless devotion to their families. However, the task of nurturing a child to adulthood is not all talc and chocolate chip cookies. The good mother is in reality a “good enough” mother, a phrase made famous by psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott.
Simply stated, the Good Enough Mother is not a romanticized stereotype, she is multi-dimensional, having feelings and attitudes ranging from complete dedication to periodic resentment. Moms are human. They have their own emotional baggage to set aside, and can unwittingly see their children as extensions of their own ambitions.
But always, at heart, the mother’s goal is to provide her child with emotional and physical care, which makes it difficult to accept that children learn by their own mistakes. Difficult as the decision is, at some point in time the chicks must be allowed to fly from the nest.
Perhaps a more appropriate Mother’s Day card would read: “Mom, thanks for the roots… and the wings.”