Being blessed with the title of "mom" brings forth a lifetime of joys along with endless responsibilities and many moments of concern.
As mom to a nearly 18-month-old son, I've experienced quite a bit of nervousness already. Bonks on the head, minor illnesses and trying to curb his love for stair-climbing are some of my current challenges.
Contemplating these issues, along with major tasks such as teaching responsibility and right from wrong while also keeping my kiddo safe, I realized how many hairs on my mom's head that I must have turned gray while I was growing up. I wasn't a rebellious child, but back then, I just didn't understand why my mom preferred that I not do certain things.
As a mom, I see that when my mom told me "no" to my requests for certain toys or to go to a skate party or late-night outings with friends, she wasn't being mean. She was teaching me many things - responsibility for my actions, that I don't get everything that I want and that behavior such as not finishing chores or homework comes with consequences. She was preparing me for this thing called life. Mom's technique of lovingly disciplining me was effective, and it encourages me to raise my son in the same way.
Today I can laugh with my mom about my childish ways, but they weren't so funny to either of us years ago. Pondering these moments, I thought of skate parties that were held throughout my elementary school days. I was being a pain the afternoon of one of these much-anticipated shindigs. My mom told me I couldn't attend the night's event, and I was very unhappy. I badgered her, asking her over and over again to allow me to go.
I wouldn't take no for an answer, but she wasn't planning to budge, either. Finally giving up, I remember saying to my mom, "There. Are you happy now?" While I really did behave well most of the time, I sure wasn't demonstrating that at that moment. At the time I was upset because I didn't realize why I wasn't allowed to go skating. As an adult, I know it was one of those life lessons - when you're misbehaving, don't expect to get rewarded.
My actions caused my mom to have many uneasy moments as well. One instance that sticks out: choosing to run alone, wearing headphones, at night. My poor mom probably pulled some of her hair out during my late-night workouts. As a mom, I understand her concern now. I should have given more thought to the saying "Mom knows best" long ago.
Part of our anxiety as moms comes from the incredible love we have for our children. It's a love that consists of the need to protect, nurture, teach and console - no matter the age of our children. It takes time and trust, but I realize each day that I should worry less because I have faith that my son will turn out just fine.
An early happy Mother's Day to all moms out there. I'd say take the day off from some of your responsibilities, but I know that's a lot easier said than done.
And a special happy Mother's Day to my mom, Lois, a wonderful woman who helped shape me into the person I am today and the loving mommy I strive to be to my son. And to my mother-in-law, thank you for sharing your son with me - you raised him well.
Email Sarah McKeown at firstname.lastname@example.org