Because I'm the Mom

How mothering pervades all relationships in life.

Mothers and Daughters: Smart Girls Say the Darndest Things

Mother: 'Oh, honey, I love you, too'......... Daughter: 'No, Mom. I said I love

Mother's Days: The trouble with mothering bright girls

Happy Mother's Month!

The impending Hallmark onslaught of Mother's Day has me thinking radical thoughts.

How can we possibly cover the brilliance, the devotion, the heroic majesty of Motherhood in one skimpy, teensy, weensy little day? Not possible. I declare May the Mother's Month. Heck, since I'm declaring stuff, I declare 2011 The Year of the Mother. I consider it a duty and a privilege to celebrate the extraordinary motherlode of a mother's role in just about everything.

One of the many, many blessings of mothering is that you provide a safe, loving, nuturing harbor for your children. They hold themselves together, presenting the outer world with their best, most polite and appropriate selves, only to come home and — because they feel so safe in the nuturing, trusting maternal harbor of love you've created — they let their guard down. They put their manners, filter and impulse control on mute.

Any of this sounding familiar?

Let's celebrate this remarkable dynamic. The sheer physics of it is astonishing, isn't it?  The simple act of selfless mothering — of giving your entire self to these precious creatures — makes you the person least likely to see your kids at their best.

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You are also there when they utter the goofiest, funniest, most heart-breaking things you've ever heard. Unfortunately for my tween daughter's older self, I'm a bit of a note taker. So here are a few diamonds and toads uttered by my sweet girl over the years.

Consider this the outline of the toast I will give on her wedding day.    

  • Mother: Oh, honey, I love you, too.
  • Daughter: Uh, no, Mom, I said 'I love YouTube.'

 

  • Mother: I was so brave at the dentist today!
  • Daughter: You're like, 80.....of COURSE you were.
  • Mother: Did you seriously just say that to me?
  • Daughter: Well, you're old enough not to need a parade just 'cuz you were brave at the dentist.

  

  • Mother:  Please don't use that word. 
  • Daughter: Why not? Everybody in school says it.
  • Mother: If everybody in school jumped off a bridge, would you?
  • Daughter: How high's the bridge?

 

  • Daughter: BTW, Mom, everyone but me has a cool cell phone. Every. Single. Kid. Everywhere. 
  • Mother: BTW?
  • Daughter: This isn't working, is it?
  • Mother: Nope.
  • Daughter: I could tell.

 

  • Daughter: Mom, I LOVE your new gym shoes!
  • Mother: Well thank you. I like how the...
  • Daughter: You almost look normal!

 

  •  Daughter: I'm great at negotiating you.
  • Mother: That's not a good thing.
  • Daughter: I'm never letting my daughter negotiate me.
  • Mother: Good luck with that.

  

  • Mother: YOU MAY NOT SPEAK TO ME IN THAT TONE!!!! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!!
  • Daughter: I AM YELLING IN THE SAME TONE YOU ARE YELLING AT ME!! WHY IS IT OKAY WHEN YOU DO IT AND TERRIBLE WHEN I DO IT??? SOMEBODY HAS TO BE THE PARENT HERE. 

 

  • Daughter: (Browsing at a department store in the juniors fancy dresses section) Hey Mom, this is totally my prom dress. (A stretchy, sketchy pink confection of bling on satin)
  • Mother: Good to know. You have a long, long time before you need to make that decision.
  • Daughter: Yeah, plus I'm single.
  • Mother: No, you are not single. You are NINE.

  

  • Mother: I am not continuing to fight with you. Do what I said.
  • Daughter (age 6): We aren't fighting.
  • Mother: Fine. I'm not continuing this conversation.
  • Daughter: It's not exactly a conversation. It's more like an arguesation.

  

  • Mother: Pick your stuff up off the floor.
  • Daughter (age 5): I can't.
  • Mother: Why not?
  • Daughter: I'm stuffocating.

   

THIS ONE JUST IN:

  • Daughter: Mom, I know Mother's Day is coming up and I was thinking about you as a mother. We have a good relationship. My friends don't talk to their moms like I can talk to you.
  • Mother: (Speechless)
  • Daughter: I mean, you're like my best friend...No, actually, not at all like that.
  • Mother: I know.

 

Happy Mother's Month!

 

Pamela Cytrynbaum teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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