"Good mothers don't get impatient with their children." These words were spoken recently by a young lady who is a very good mother to two beautiful children. She was having a bad day and needed encouragement.
Those of us who have been there quickly reassured her that good mothers, do, indeed, get impatient with their children. It would be a rare thing if they didn't. What good mothers need to know, we told her, is to take a breath and relax to whatever degree that is possible, and to not be so hard on herself.
Relaxing may not be so easily available to a mother under stress. It helps if you can laugh. In the town where I raised my children, the newspaper carried a weekly column called "Face Down in the Succotash" written by a local mom. She got the name for her column, she explained, from an incident that had occurred while she was fixing a meal one night. The children were crying, the dog was barking, Daddy wanted dinner. As she was carrying a bowl of succotash (corn and lima beans, if memory serves) through the doorway, she stepped on a toy car and went sprawling, the succotash spilling all over the kitchen floor where she landed on her stomach. This was my kind of person, I thought, and her column helped me through many a difficult day.
Erma Bombeck also provided valuable humor to a person who tended to take everything too seriously. One of my favorite stories of hers concerns the time when she crawled into the closet under a pile of coats to get away long enough to make a phone call. Her son needed an empty medium sized juice can for a school project, and he followed her into the closet where, as she was talking on the phone, he proceeded to pour the juice down her throat. That one makes me laugh even today.
Crawling into the closet may not be a practical way to get a break, but it is important to find a way to get a few minutes to oneself every day. At one time when my children were small we lived in the country next to a corn field. Occasionally when the children were playing in the yard I would walk over to the corn field, go in a few rows, and make a little place to sit down. I could see the children and I could be there in twenty seconds if they needed me, but for a few precious moments I was by myself.
You moms know what I'm talking about.
A mother deserves a little time to herself every day. Raising a child may be the most difficult job you ever have, and no matter how well prepared you may be, you will still be expected to come up with creative solutions to unexpected situations at any time. If you do a good job, it will likely be taken for granted. If you have difficulty, you may be quick to criticize yourself. But it is important to remember this: you care about your children. And if you listen when they talk and dispense hugs as needed, you are halfway there.