Monday, January 3, 2011


I love this show.  They keep it real.  And in the end…….there’s always love.

A friend recently asked me for parenting advice.  Ahhh, parenting.  The joy.  The heartbreak.  The wonder of it all.

I became a mother at the ripe old age of 24.  Relatively young by today’s standards.  I can remember taking Daughter #1 in a stroller to the mall to get the second hole pierced in my ears.  Don’t judge, people.  It was the 80’s.  If you must know, I had big hair, MC Hammer pants and shoulder pads.  And I rocked it like nobody’s business.  But I digress….

The “10 year old” working at the ear-piercing kiosk asked me if I had a permission note from my parents to get the piercing!  I was mortified!  Couldn’t she see how very grown up I was?  I quickly explained that I was WELL over the age of 18.  I had been married for MANY years and was the MOTHER of the BABY in the stroller.  (Little did I know then that I should have been grateful.  That one day I would be crying in the  parking lot of Ross Dress for Less because some stupid twit mistook me for a SENIOR CITIZEN and gave me a 10% discount!)  But again….I digress.  My apologies.

The point I’m trying to make is that I was young, clueless and fearless as a young mother.  I did not read “What to Expect When You are Expecting.” (in part because it hadn’t been written yet)  I had not yet begun to watch Oprah, Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer.  For the record, I don’t watch any of the afore-mentioned programs but you get the idea.  I didn’t turn to the “experts”  I leaned on common sense.  If it was hungry, I fed it.  If it smelled, I changed it.  If it cried, I held it.  If it cried all day long, I threw it at its father the second he walked in the door and went to the shower to cry for 30 minutes.  I had also yet to discover the benefits of a good glass of red wine.

As the girls got older, the mommy gig got a little more complicated but they’ve turned out pretty well.  No worse for the wear, my mother would say.  The secret of good parenting is realizing that it is really just a crap-shoot.  Look around.  There are parents who read all the books (…..even the best one…..the Bible), take classes, make no mistakes and the kid still ends up in juvie.  Some of us make all the mistakes and the kids thrive despite our best efforts to screw them up.  Go figure.

When it’s all said and done, we all do the best we can.  We love them in our own language.  One of my favorite movies is The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood.  Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a booze-soaked child-beater.  The movie just spoke to me.  The characters made really bad choices at times but it was what they knew.  It was a different time.  They did the best they could (OK, maybe that’s not entirely true but they tried) and in the end, there was no judgment.  Just love.  That’s what I hope for. 

That one day, my kids will look back at where I’ve screwed up and say, “But we KNOW that she LOVED us.” 


only a movie said...

Someone super smart (just like you) said a similar thing to me a while back. Love the heck out of them, and be humble and it sorts itself out.

It's the hardest job in the world, but also the best.

blueviolet said...

I started out by reading the books and taking notes (lol), but quickly reverted to my own gut instincts. They've served me well over the years.

Arkansas Patti said...

You are right, you see those with every advantage and guidence, peer back at life from behind iron bars while street kids become leaders and CEOs.
Crap shoot about covers it.
Ya done good lady, be proud.

Life in the mom lane said...

OMG you just reiterated my life as a new mother... right down to the meeting hubby @ the door with my crying colicky baby & crying in the shower. Are you my twin????? ;D

Venom said...

Still have the big hair I see - not judging, I'm a hair-hold-over from the 80's myself.

Adding you to my blogroll, I don't see a button here, but if you had one, I'd use it.

DuchessOmnium said...

My mother tells the story of how when she was a young woman a travelling salesman came to the door ready to show his wares.

She answered the door, opening it just a crack. I and my older brother were clinging to her skirt, hiding behind her legs.

Hello, little girl, the salesman said, Is your mother at home?

My mother was confused and didn't quite know what to say. Finally she blurted out, I am my mother!

Well, she was very young and, in the way of mothers, had many faults. But she certainly loved us. And that is also just what I hope my kids will say about me. It's worth a lot.

wishingIwasstillyoungdumbandstupid said...

I not only didn't read the books or watch the shows, I had no mother figure to learn from so it was a real crap shoot for my children but they've survived. They even survived that stupid baby seat with the wire thingy on the bottom that propped up the head, that I sat beside my in the front seat of the car NOT strapped in in any way. Oh...and I dropped one of them on the concrete. He's fine though. I think.

Ginger said...

This is so true. No matter what you do, short of child abuse, your kids will turn out the way they are going to turn out. I have 3 sons. All of the raised in the same house, in pretty much the same circumstances. All three of them? Different. And not just a subtle difference, either. Like you,I hope they all just know that I loved them, the best I knew how.