Being a mom is complicated. When children are babies, the role is simple. They need to be taken care of and loved. As they get older, they need space to be able to become independent. Sometimes these roles are in conflict. It’s hard to see children as getting older; they always look like the tiny human that bought such joy to your life.
As my mom grew older, I realized she didn’t seem to cook or clean as much as she used to. When I offered to help cook or clean, she was very adamant with her “No.” My mom had always been very independent, going to work when it wasn’t fashionable. My dad thought people would think she was working because he couldn’t support her. She went to work so she would be able to buy her own car and eventually collect social security. She was just smart. By the way, I asked my mother about cooking and cleaning—she said she didn’t feel like it, and I shouldn’t worry.
When I was in the carpet business, we would roll out the red carpet on Mother’s Day and give away roses to all the moms that stopped in. Of course our mom was at the store, all dressed up and wearing her corsage. Everyone loved this event.
So often I hear about children who disapprove of their mom marrying again—how could she fall in love or want another relationship. Why worry? The worst thing that might happen is she enjoys the remaining years of her life.
Why did I care so much? Did I think my mother was getting old? If I cleaned and cooked for her would that mean she wasn’t aging? Was I trying to head off the inevitable or pretend it wouldn’t happen? If we asked, she still made the best eggplant and stuffed artichokes. She said she didn’t eat that much because she wasn’t interested in gaining weight.
As I age, I realize how important it is to be independent. I spend a lot of time at the gym; I know keeping physical fit is the key to many things. I also I realize at one point I won’t want to clean this big house. When people offer to help me clean my house, I’ll know it’s time to move on.
When I asked my mom what she wanted for Mother’s Day many years ago, she wanted a pair of Reebok bright, pink sneakers so she could continue to exercise. Today it makes me smile and I realize I’m not that much different than her.
I heard a survey today about what mom’s want the most for mother’s day—help around the house. They probably want the yard racked or putting the air conditioner in the window. Taking your mom out to dinner is also tops on the list. . You remember all the things you didn’t want to do when you lived at home. Smile.
Lisbeth has been teaching businesses how to improve their customer service and the customer experience for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, reach her at [email protected] If she’s not in her office, she can often be found mornings at the YMCA in East Greenbush, New York.