In this post, I want thank the women who make Mother's Day still worth celebrating. While my mom did teach me some good things, like patience and how to cook, I didn't have that good of an example of what married life is, or what a healthy family was really like.
There are a number of people that I know in real life and online (including the ChicagoNow community), for a short time or for my entire life, who showed me that not all families are like mine. I'm a little leery about writing about relatives, for fear that my father may also cut them out of the family like he did me--but they know I appreciate them all the same :)
These women showed me how to be a strong woman. Well, okay I was already strong and stubborn, but they showed me and told me that it's OKAY to be a strong woman.
Getting married doesn't mean giving up all of your personal freedom. Sure, there is and will be and should be compromises. But you can go to the grocery store if you want, when you want. Or take the kids to the park. The idea of somebody forbidding you to go somewhere is ludicrous to the strong woman.
It's okay to disagree with your husband when you think he's full of shit. Especially if you think he's full of shit regarding the kids.
It's okay to discuss areas of disagreement. Also, disagreement shouldn't turn into the husband yelling at you and wearing you down, or the parent yelling at the child and wearing him/her down.
It's also okay to give in once in a while. The strong woman shouldn't be a bitch and walk all over her husband, obviously. Marriage should be a case-study in mutuality, because co-dependency isn't a good example for the children.
They showed me that communication is key for a good strong family. Families can't really function if everyone must tip toe on eggshells around the father.
They showed me that mothers have a responsibility to protect their children. If the husband is a bully to the children, then the mothers must stand up for them. And yes, that does mean standing up against their own husband. I know the importance of marriage vows, but the well-being of children trumps that. Anytime you are responsible for the mental and physical well-being of a child, then it trumps even the most stringent beliefs of marriage.
They showed me what healthy parenting is like. They showed me that every family has its warts, but they manage to create and maintain healthy relationships anyway. They showed me patience.
Do you have any lessons you've learned from the mothers in your life? Please share in the comments!
There's one person my parents can't punitively disown since they don't know her that well, so I can name her here without fear. My siblings need all the people in their lives as they can, you know?
She has been incredibly supportive, loving, patient, and encouraging of me. She knew my parents were nuts before I did. She was patient while I slowly and painfully came to the realization that yes, what my parents did is abusive. She was patient when I was triggered by a gazillion things. It's gotten loads better, especially when I started realizing that hey, Jeff and his family doesn't yell at me when I make a mistake. She let me stay in the guest bedroom overnight when I had nervous breakdowns (particularly in the aftermath of the disowning, so I could be near such an emotionally supportive family. They supported me when I decided on my own that I didn't want to play my dad's games anymore.
So, happy Mother's day to my mother-in-law, Sandy :) Thank you <3
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