And yet, it is the simple truth. As a child, your parent, particularly your main caregiver, is all powerful. They control almost every aspect of your life. And as a child, you worship your parents. You believe they got up five minutes before you to hang the sun in the sky. There’s nothing you believe they can’t do. They can make the airplane land an hour early or the restaurant open up to serve your favourite food.
Realizing your parents are human beings who make mistakes is one of the big disillusionment of growing up. Sometimes I wonder if that’s what fuels some of the adolescent rage we all remember feeling. Realizing there isn’t a all-powerful, rock-solid foundation behind you as you venture into a frightening and uncaring world, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see anger.
I was watching a Roseanne comedy special the other night and she was complaining about how her daughters blamed their problems in life on her not being around as they were growing up. Her rebuttal: “Stop bitching about me not being around. Do you have any idea how (bleep)ed up your lives would be if I’d have taken an interest in them?” It made me laugh out loud. After all, no matter what mothers do, they tend to reap the grief of their children, particularly their daughters.
Mothers are human. We make mistakes, sometimes spectacular ones. And even if your children remain silent, there are a host of experts both professional and amateur who are willing to point out your mistakes for you.
I believe most mothers are good intentioned. There are those who are narcissistically self-absorbed or pathologically destructive, but most are doing their best to raise children who turn into functioning, productive, happy adults. Maybe a good Mother’s Day gift would be to recognize that no one has a magic formula for parenting and that raising children is not a competitive blood sport.
So thanks, Mom, for all your efforts.