In honor of Mother’s Day, I dedicate this week’s column to all mothers who have accepted their job of raising children without really knowing what they were getting into. Even if we knew ahead of time that motherhood meant giving up a good night’s sleep for years to come, chances are we still wouldn’t think twice about it.
All moms are working moms. In fact, we define multi-tasking — just look at a typical day planner crammed with school functions, room mom meetings, activities, sports, doctor appointments, birthday parties, grocery lists, baby sitter phone numbers and plenty of scratch-outs that signify anything can change at any given moment. We don’t get paid, but the experience makes us rich. We never retire, but the vacation time makes it all worthwhile.
I’m lucky — better than that — I’m blessed because I benefit from the companionship of my mom everyday, either on the phone or in person. She always listens to my parenting gripes and offers advice, whether I ask for it or not. One of her favorite lines — “You wanted to have kids … no one ever said it would be easy” — might sound unsympathetic, but it’s so true. In fact, the Hebrew phrase, tzar gidul banim, refers to the inevitable pain of raising children. The pain goes both ways. Parents suffer, children suffer, and hopefully, the hardships we suffer together make us stronger.
One thing I discovered so far as a mom is to find humor whenever possible. The other thing I learned is that if I don’t make lists of things to do, I forget to do them. So for the fun of it, here’s my first attempt at a “not-to-do” list.
Things I Will Never Do As a Jewish Mom
1. Pluck pinfeathers from a kosher chicken, even if the soup tastes better.
2. Make my children clean all their food on their plates, unless they’re loading them into the dishwasher.
3. Eat another frozen latke at a public menorah lighting ceremony.
4. Go through the day without doing one mitzvah, even if it means taking Luci for a walk when no one else wants to.
5. Make Christmas seem like more fun than Hanukkah.
6. Serve a corned beef sandwich on white bread with mayonnaise.
7. Wear a winter holiday sweater that has anything red, green or a reindeer on it.
8. Shelter my children from the Holocaust when they are ready to learn about it.
9. Throw away my collection of handkerchief challah covers, clay menorahs and bottle cap candlestick holders that my kids made in preschool.
10. Say no to my mom when she invites us to her house for brunch.
11. Stay mad at my kids for too long, at least until the next battle erupts.
12. Remain dry-eyed when I read a Mother’s Day card made with colored markers and construction paper.
Enjoy your Mother’s Day, whether you make it special for yourself or someone else.
“The Mishegas of Motherhood” is the creation of Ellie S. Grossman, a St. Louis freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom who never stays home. Her stories are inspired by the real life of her family, including her two children, toy poodle named Luci, and her husband, but not necessarily in that order. Feel free to send any comments, prayers or recipes to [email protected]