Not All Moms Are Mothers
We’ve been writing a lot about motherhood lately and encouraged everybody to share your own lessons and tributes to your own mom. However, I’ve been manning the headset at the Advice Smackdown long enough to know that not everybody fits neatly into that box.
Some of us have had to say goodbye to our mothers — recently, or years ago, before we became mothers ourselves. Some of us routinely buy our Mother’s Day cards in the “special situations” section, for grandmothers or stepmothers or aunts who are, essentially, our moms. Some of us, no matter how much we may wish it to be otherwise, simply don’t have the relationship with our mothers that one imagines when one thinks about leaving gushing, loving tributes on the Internet.
And while, sure, we’ve posted a LOT of questions about mothers-in-law from hell, that’s not always the case either. I’ve gotten multiple questions from moms-to-be who actually WANT their mothers-in-law or other female figure to help out postpartum INSTEAD of their “real” mothers. I may still (almost 12 years later) still awkwardly address my in-laws as “you guyssss” because I mishandled their early request/invitation to call them “Mom” and “Dad”…but they have, in many ways, been an amazing complement to my existing parental units. They are my family, and even more importantly, they have become my family’s family.
My mother-in-law brings my mom homemade soups and meals several times a week while my father fights cancer and chemo. She helps with transportation to doctor’s visits and picks my siblings up at the train station when we all descend for an emergency visit. She helped clean the house when my parents put it on the market and arranged for a charity to pick up excess furniture. And without question or hesitation, she relocated the birthday party she planned for my children to my parents’ house once my father became really and truly housebound. She was there to watch my firstborn while I was birthing the second — she made me a big plate of scrambled eggs every morning and, when I got sick right around their planned departure date, I didn’t even have to ask her to stay a bit longer. I know without a doubt that she will be here for both when I have number three. Sure, our relationship isn’t perfect and we disagree about many things and we drive each other a bit crazy from time to time…but. That kind of sounds a lot like I’d describe my relationship with my…mom. Wow.
If you have a mother figure — a grandma, aunt, stepmom, in-law or just a wonderful woman who means the world to you — feel free to leave a tribute to her in the comments.