What makes a good mother?
In observance of Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, this is the question we decided to send out to our ‘People Poll’ participants early last week. I tend to pick the “softball” questions, so needless to say, I expected my in box to be flooded with responses early in the week.
The question seemed to be easy enough, after all, how hard is it to pick a few character traits one might find appealing in a mother… any mother… names not necessary.
Much to my shock (and need I say horror) the answers trickled in, leaving me hanging at the edge of my seat as I checked my in box throughout the day.
This of course prompted me to think how I might answer the question if I were a reader. As I gave deep thought to what I might answer, my mind did what it usually does and went on a tangent of sorts, stemming from the pressing question.
First, I thought of my children and what they might say if asked such a question, which led to me thinking of how I might have responded to such a loaded question at the tender age of 6.
As I looked back, I quickly came to realize at that time in my life I was not raised by one mother, but three.
My mother, a single mom, worked full-time, therefore relying much on family to help with her one and only child — me. Much of my early years were spent with my grandmother, a tradition I have now been fortunate enough to pass on to my own children, as they spend quality time with Memaw while Mommy works at the paper.
My grandmother was my ‘fun’ mom. She was the one that let me and my cousins be irresponsible and just have fun. We were, after all, at grandma’s house. Traditionally that is what grandparents do; perhaps it’s why our grandparent memories are always followed by a smiley face. My grandmother also baked home made bread (before there was a machine) and made a mean chicken and dumplings. She always wore an apron or a housecoat and no one’s hugs ever compared to hers.
My second mom was my Aunt Esie, one of my mother’s older sisters who cared for me almost as much as my grandmother, while my mom was working. Aunt Esie was my ‘domestic’ mom. She stayed home and cared for her three sons, while my uncle worked. She ironed, cooked, cleaned and watched her ‘programs’ (also known as soap operas), while my three cousins and I tried to kill one another. Man… those were the days. She even filled in on occasion for school field trips, since my mom had to work. Her home was always full of love, laughter and discipline.
Then of course there is my mother, she not only is my heart, but taught me what it meant to have a heart. My mother may have worked full-time, but that never stopped her from hugging me after a long day spent apart or reminding me of what an amazing child I was. She was my safety, my constant, my teacher, my voice, my number one.
As I look back on those early years I realize, it really does take a village. We become who we are not because of one single person, but the village of people who help shape and mold us as we take on life and all that it holds.
This Mother’s Day I hope each of you, our readers, take a moment to acknowledge and thank your ‘mom.’ Maybe the person who mothered you was a neighbor or family friend, an aunt or older sibling — regardless, acknowledge them for all they may have given you and the person they helped shape.
Now, as a mother I realize, I may not always get it right. I may not always have the right words of wisdom or the perfect solution. Undoubtedly, the one thing I will always have for my children is love and hugs, straight from the heart — just as my mother continues to give it to me.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.