They say mothering is a thankless job.
I know I gave my own mother a hard time growing up, especially when I was busy establishing my own identity and had become my own special version of a rebellious teen.
Mom claims I was easy… I think she just has amnesia of all the tears she shed because of me.
“One day you will understand…” became a mantra for her, to shield herself from my irritation or anger.
At that time, I felt that explanation was so inadequate. At my most hard-headed moments, I would purposefully do the opposite of what she asked just to show her she can’t control me.
I remember one of the most shallow and constant fights we had when I was growing up was her constant reminder for me to “Smile”.
In Chinese, she would doggedly nag me:
“Smile, even if you don’t feel like it.”
“Smile to show people you are happy to see them.”
“A smile should be your default facial expression.”
It irritated the heck out of me.
I would tetchily answer her back in my rudest voice: “I don’t feel like it.” or “I am not plastic…. I won’t pretend.”
Or worse, I would put the ugliest fakest smile on my face that made me look like Batman’s Joker just to follow the letter, if not the spirit of what I felt was a useless edict.
She persisted. Through all my stupid tantrums, my whining and my refusals until one day, without even realizing it, it became second nature to me.
Ironically, that’s what people most remember about me now…. My default facial expression is usually a smile. I don’t even notice it anymore. Other people do though and they always tell me so.
That’s just one instance of many that I am glad my mom insisted on her way in the face of my resistance.
In motherhood, there are no guidelines, no specific paths to take. There is no way to find out for sure what the right thing to do is.
It is a balancing act so delicate that veering in the direction of leniency or towards the direction of being too strict can have serious consequences.
In many ways, mothering can feel like a thankless job because we cannot see the results of the decisions made, whether the path taken is good or bad, until years down the road.
Motherhood can sometimes feel like a thankless job because in most cases, kids don’t fully appreciate their mothers until they’ve grown big enough to move out and start families of their own.
Now that I am a mother myself, I find myself praying that I will do the right things in raising my own children, just as my own mother had gone through years before.
I find myself repeating my mother’s old mantra to my own kids… “One day you will understand.”
I am all grown up and a mother myself, I can finally say to my dear loving mama:
“NOW I understand.”
Thanks for never giving up on me during the times I was too young and stupid to realize you knew better.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Applicant needs to have the following qualifications:
- Loving and caring;
- Willing to sacrifice most personal time;
- Balls of steel to withstand the tantrums of the petulant toddler and/or the rebellious teen;
- Wellspring of patience to bear the endless questions and chatter of a 6-year-old and/or the defiance of a 17-year-old;
- Wisdom and Good decision making skills to take the right path, not the easy one;
- Must be able to withstand high pressure situations as you will become the world to the person assigned to you
This job requires one to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for no pay and no immediate results.
Selfish people need not apply.