Most of you have become acquainted with my mother-in-law Cindy via blog and in case you didn’t notice, I really lucked out with her. She’s basically a second mom to me. But what about my mother? What’s her story?
She called me the other day and jokingly complained about how the only things I have said about her in my ramblings are that she has issues with caffeine and she introduced me to diet pills. She said she was starting to feel like Mommie Dearest. I don’t mean to leave her out or to paint an unflattering picture. There’s a few good reasons that I’m always talking about my MIL (that’s mother-in-law for everyone who’s pissed at me for not explaining acronyms), not my mom. First, my MIL is a nurse, so she helps with the icky needle stuff. Second, she’s retired, so she has a lot of spare time for me. My mother works in an accounting department and literally works seven days per week between January and March, then kicks it down to six days/week until May. She is the one who taught me the value of a hard day’s work and taking pride in your accomplishments. She and I have a lovely phone relationship during this part of the year and will resume our weekend hangouts and shopping days in the springtime. If you want to know what my mom is like… just read my blog. Over the years I have basically become her clone. I look exactly like her (and that’s a very good thing. Here’s a fun fact – she’s almost 50 and has never had a gray hair. Ever.) Sometimes I’ll be off on some tirade and Eric will just look at me and say, “OK, Loretta.” So that’s my mom. More than just a bit character in the saga.
My mom was invaluable during my sister’s delivery. Ashley had her son when she was 18 and her now-husband was not much older. Sure, he was supportive and encouraging, but my mom ruled that delivery room. She knew exactly what to say and do during what I’m sure was a terrifying event. My sister’s second baby was born the weekend my mom was on a camping trip, so she drove for hours, lost in the woods in the middle of the night, just to come home for it (and she did make it in time). I can’t imagine not having her there when my baby is born.
When it comes to parenting styles, I want to mimic a lot of things that my parents did. For example, I was never mollycoddled. I might have been the opposite of mollycoddled. I’ll never forget at the age of 10 when I needed to make a dentist appointment. I called my mom at work to tell her and she said, “What are you telling me for? Call the dentist and schedule one.” (I should mention that our dentist was across the street, so going there by myself after school was really no big deal).
My mom always treated me with respect, and in turn I (mostly) lived up to her high expectations. I never had a curfew. I never had to go to school if I didn’t want to, but I was expected to keep my grades up. Basically, I was trusted to do what I needed to do to succeed in life and was expected to become self-reliant. This kind of trust absolutely prepared me for adulthood. I never had the shock of, “Oh shit, how do I cook dinner?” when I moved out. I was prepared to be a functioning member of society immediately because I had already been acting like one for so long.
My mom didn’t stay home and bake cookies. She worked her ass off so we could afford to buy cookies, even fancy Milano cookies if we wanted them. She was more likely to write a sarcastic note to my teachers and embarrass the shit out of me than she was to pack me a brown bag lunch with a “Love You!” note in it. She may not be Mrs. Cleaver, but she’s one hell of a mom.