by Tree Hugger
I've alway been a different kind of mom. Was it a benefit for my child or a handicap?
The term ‘somebody’s mom’ has stuck with me since the late 1960’s. How’s that for the power of marketing and the media? Back then, there was a commercial for individual pudding cups, which the advertising assured us “taste like they were made by ‘somebody’s mom’”. The moniker has been stuck in my head from that time to this.
I am ‘somebody’s mom’. If you ask my son, he will surely tell you that my mom-ly talents make me a very odd cross between Martha Stewart, MacGyver, and Betty Crocker.
I can and do bake from scratch, just like my mom did. But I’ve also been known to repair the major appliances and plumbing in our house, nurse sick parakeets back to health, sew an awesome mummy costume for Halloween, construct a Conestoga Wagon for Frontier Day, change flat tires, and take judo classes, all while holding down a full-time job. In my mind, that’s what mom’s do, whatever it takes.
Maybe I’ve been overcompensating for not being a stay-at-home mom like my mother was, when my son was small. We didn’t go on play dates or to the park on sunny spring days to play with the children of other stay-at-home moms. We couldn’t have lazy sleep-in mornings on rainy days or spend an afternoon watching earth movers on big construction sites. I couldn’t go on every school field trip or volunteer to read to the kindergarten class. It didn’t bother me then as much as it weighs on my mind now. Did I miss something vital? If I could do it again differently, would my child be a better person than the man he is today?
On the other hand, I don’t know any other mom who transported a sheep in her SUV so that it could be part of the petting zoo at the school fair. Who else would make 36 sets of bean bags so that the fourth grade could learn to juggle? Robin Hood hats for all of the birthday party guests, anyone? Can you trim the classroom guinea pig’s toenails without being bitten? I did get involved, just with my own style and flair!
I never thought I was unusual and certainly didn’t try to set myself apart. It’s just what I do. It is no doubt a blessing for me and my child that we have always had his dad (my husband) to temper my ideas and involvement!
One occasion cemented the idea in my mind that I was somehow different from other moms. During high school, my son had a less-than-wonderful first car he named Doris. Doris had issues; some of them she came with, others manifesting themselves because of the not so gentle treatment she received at the hands of her 16-year old driver. When the phone rang to say that her battery was dead, again, I was on my way to do roadside rescue. As I arrived, three high school kids were standing next to Doris, waiting. Climbing out of my car, I heard my son’s buddy exclaim “Dude! Your mom brought tools!” How else was I going to get the dead battery out of the car? Oh! ‘Normal’ moms call AAA.
Through the high school years, there were fewer creative outlets for my mothering. I guess at that point I poured my energy into worrying about the pitfalls and tribulations of the teen years. Where is he? What’s he doing? Is he wearing his seat belt? No longer was there concern for super sized honey bee models for the science fair or milk bottle crushers for the ‘Invention Convention’. The next part of life was on the horizon.
When he moved into his first apartment, I tasted a resurgence of my mom-ing skills. He called to ask “Could you make some curtains?” or “How do I unclog the drain?” Yes! I still have value as ‘somebody’s mom’.
As my child has grown and moved out of mothering range, I’ve been given a glimpse into the kind of parent he will be. And while he hasn’t taken to baking dog biscuits from scratch, he does do those little extra things. Maybe because that’s what his mom did? Of course, I haven’t limited my involvement to occasional visits. I’ve transferred some of my mothering excesses to my “granddog”. Do you know many border collies with a wardrobe of custom made bandanas for nearly every occasion?
I am very proud of the adult that my son has become. Is his adult persona because of or despite my quirks as his parent? I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know. He has always seemed to take my style of mothering in stride. It’s not as if he had a choice, but it couldn’t always have been easy. I hope my do-most-anything attitude has made his life a little more rich and special, and that he looks back on my efforts and smiles at the memories.