Happy Mother’s Day!
“If it’s not one thing, it’s your Mother!”
There’s a saying in psychotherapy that goes
“If it’s not one thing, it’s your Mother.”
Shall I say the field of psychology has often been less
than kind when it comes to Moms, blaming them for
causing autism to Bipolar Disorder and everything else?
In the 1950’s, even schizophrenia was blamed on cold,
unfeeling so-called “Refrigerator Moms.”
Once women began to influence the field of psychology,
and solid research helped to expose the ridiculousness
of blaming mothering for all manner of disorders,
it is no longer the norm in the field to blame Mom for
everything that might go wrong…in fact, there’s as
much interest in the field now at looking at the impact
of Fathers (or their absence) on mental health.
Exactly what is Mom’s Job Description?
In our culture, however, it is still a pretty tall order
that Mothers are attempting to fill to be “Good Moms.”
Here is a poem by Joanna Fuchs available from
Poemsource that you can use to honor Mom:
and see a walking miracle.
Your unfailing love without limit,
your ability to soothe my every hurt,
the way you are on duty, unselfishly,
every hour, every day,
makes me so grateful
that I am yours, and you are mine.
With open arms and open heart,
with enduring patience and inner strength,
you gave so much for me,
sometimes at your expense.
You are my teacher,
my comforter, my encourager,
appreciating all, forgiving all.
Sometimes I took you for granted, Mom,
but I don’t now, and I never will again.
I know that everything I am today
relates to you and your loving care.
I gaze in wonder
as I watch you being you—
my miracle, my mother.
We’re Going to Have to Fire Some Moms…
I mean no disrespect to Joanna Fuchs, but if this even
comes close to the job description, then most Mothers
I know are failing miserably and will be getting a pink slip.
As a Mother, despite doing the best that I can given
the circumstances, I know I do not have “unfailing
love without limit,” I’m not “on duty unselfishly every
hour, every day,” and I do not have the “ability to
soothe every hurt.” Not that I sometimes wish I could!
And most Moms that I know would fall short of these
expectations… because Moms are People, too!
In fact, they were people first.
Let’s Celebrate Real Moms…
Instead of celebrating “Miracle Mothers,” how about
we celebrate Real Moms? Real Moms don’t have
unending patience, don’t always say the right thing
at the right moment, don’t know how to make
everything better…even though they may want to.
Real Moms are imperfect human beings who are
trying to figure out who they are in the world,
along with shouldering the immense responsibility
of trying to nurture and guide another human being
(or more) on their path through life.
Real Moms aren’t perfect…they make mistakes.
Real Moms come with both personal and cultural baggage
about being a Mother that they are trying to deal with.
Real Moms have physical and sometimes mental health
issues that affect how they parent, though they wish
And Real Moms sometimes have strengths other than the
sterotypical ones of being nurturing and caring and forgiving.
Some Real Moms…
Some Real Moms are independent, successful in a
variety of settings, competent and efficient, organized
and determined, travellers and conquerers.
Some Real Moms are artistic, creative, in their own
special world that doesn’t look like anyone else’s.
Some Real Moms are entertainers, can make life
one big party, and know how to have fun.
Some Real Moms aren’t martyrs. They take care of
themselves as well as others, understanding that a
sane, balanced life requires attending to their own
In Celebration of Real Moms:
So this Mother’s Day, instead of either idealizing Mom
as a “Miracle Mother,” or trashing her because she can
never live up to our culture’s unrealistic expectations,
maybe we can just honor and celebrate Real Moms.
You can say “thank you” to your Mom for doing the
best she could as a parent with what she knew at the time.
You can say “thank you” to your Mom for being the
interesting, wonderfully imperfect person that she is.
You can say “Happy Mother’s Day!” and celebrate the
fact that you have a Real Mom…
which is kind of a miracle in and of itself. 🙂