Parenting Perspectives: Comfort in knowing you can always count on mom
It was 4 a.m. when I called my mom.
It was the first time I’d had to call her at such an early hour, but it was not the first time I’d called her in a panic needing her advice. And it wasn’t the first time she rode in to save the day.
In fact, when I think back on my first year of parenting, the one thing I couldn’t have made it without is my own mother.
My mom was there for me as I went through a difficult pregnancy, visiting me in the hospital each time I was there, talking to nurses for me and doing her best to keep my spirits up.
And while I was stuck in the hospital or going to a never-ending stream of doctors’ appointments, Mom hit up garage sales for me, amassing an impressive collection of baby gear for us – a darn good thing, otherwise we’d have had a baby wrapped in paper towels and sleeping in a cardboard box if I’d been left to my own devices.
When I was in labor, it was wonderful to have my husband there supporting me, but it was my mom I wanted holding my hand as I gritted my teeth against the pain, and my mom I wanted to be proud of me for producing my slime-covered, cone-headed, screaming tiny human. (She did a wonderful job of fawning over the baby, despite the goo.)
Once we got the baby home, it was Mom I called in the panic of a first-time mother as I worried that my baby wasn’t sleeping enough, wasn’t eating enough, was crying too much, or, on one occasion, that her bellybutton was sticking out too far.
Mom, to her credit, calmed me down without even mocking me. (And it turns out that a bellybutton sticking out is a legitimate medical issue, albeit not a serious one in our case.)
Even on the days I didn’t call my mother for advice, my parenting thought process was pretty much, “Well, what would Mom do? Because I’ll just do that, and it should work.”
Growing up, I don’t think I ever really appreciated my mom like I should have. She was a stay-at-home mom until I was a teenager, and I took for granted that someone was always there when I got home, that dinner was on the table at 5:30 and that our house was amazingly clean, especially when you consider that there were seven kids and their friends running around.
I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to live up to the example of motherhood I had growing up. I doubt I’ll ever be able to run a home as well as my mom did, and I’ll certainly never be as good a cook.
But I do hope that my daughter will always know that I love her as much as my mom loves me, and that, like my mom, I’ll always be there for her. (And for that matter, that she knows her grandma will be there for her, too.)
All in all, I figure if I can be half the mom my mom was, my daughter will still have one of the best mothers in town.
And if I can’t be that good, I’ll at least make sure my daughter has Grandma’s phone number memorized so she knows who to call at 4 a.m.