Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Yesterday, my friend told me that she had lunch with her daughter, and supper with her son (and their respective families). Today, she is expecting to have dinner with a third daughter, and her fiancée. The funny thing about her is that she feels as if she has not done anything impressive, as I will be spending the day alone.
We have a habit of dismissing the accomplishments of mothers. I suspect it is because moms are just always there for us. Some better dads play a significant role in the upbringing of children, but our society still tends to rely more heavily on the moms for raising children than on dads. Yes, I know there are exceptions, and some dads are just as involved as the moms are (or more so), but in most of the families with which I am familiar, a dad simply cannot replace a mom.
It hasn’t been that long ago that it was not only acceptable, but expected, that the role of the mother homemaker was that of a second-class citizen. It was the role and expectation of men to spend his days at work making money, and when he got home, his wife was expected to pamper him as if he were another child. Mom simply cooked and cleaned and was largely ornamental in case her husband brought home his friends for supper.
There’s nothing wrong with this. Some women still do prefer the role of homemaker, and that’s okay. Somewhere in the women’s right movement, the rights of women to pursue the life they want seemed to take on the belief that women who do not pursue high power jobs were somehow betraying the movement. This, to me, seems like just another example of how the roles of women working at home is not given proper respect.
Wow, this is starting to look like it’s written by a boomer. Well, yes, it actually is, but that’s not what I mean. The reality is that women who do take on high power and impressive careers are usually still mom at home. For years I’ve said that women are simply tougher than men. A mom that is ill will often still motivate herself to cook for her children, get them off to school, and take care of them when they get home. The joke is that men are completely helpless when they just get the sniffles. I don’t think that this is entirely accurate, but I do believe that wives are better at taking care of ill husbands, than husbands are of sick wives. Women who have careers frequently live lives as if they have not one, but two full-time careers the second of which is their family.
I’m not sure why this should be so, and frankly, I’m not really speaking from experience. I have no children myself, and only had a wife for a couple of years, but women do deserve a day for themselves. They deserve to be pampered and shown the appreciation for what they do that we all often take for granted.
My friend has had amazing accomplishments. Have degrees, and an interesting career, but I’ve not raised children. Her children adore her, and are truly remarkable and wonderful citizens, all of which I credit as her accomplishments. Yes, I’m sure her husband had something to do with it as well, but usually it’s more the mom raising children and instilling morals in them that the dad.
When I was growing up, it was my mom that showed support, and who looked out for me. Dad would come home, and just want to relax. If there was discipline to be doled out, that was the role for my father.
No, not all mothers are angels, and yes, they can make mistakes. I’m not pretending like they can do no harm, any more than I’ll say that men don’t play an important role. The point that I am trying to make is that, as a society in general, we tend to downplay the role of mothers, and frequently don’t give them the respect they deserve.
This Mother’s Day, perhaps it is our opportunity to reflect on what our mother has done for us, and where we would be without them. And if you forgot to get mom something to help her celebrate the day, it’s really not too late. Do something nice for her that is not typical. If she makes supper, then make something for her. If she does the dishes, do them for her. Give her a little space and free time so she can pamper herself with a bubble-bath, or a walk, or anything she does. And tell her thanks.