By the time I was 27 years old I had given birth to three children in four years. This was the late 70s. I had always wanted to be a wife and mother. I wrote that in my high school year book.
I remember going to the park and bumping into another mother. After the niceties she asked me "Do you work?" I looked at my three children and then I looked at her. "I stay home and take of the kids." Yes, but do you work?" Ahh. Do I work?
I wish I could say that I defended myself. But at that moment, that woman managed to demean everything about motherhood. Women are our own worst enemies. We have taken motherhood and moved it to the lowest level of work. I remember statements like, "Well, anyone can raise children." I suppose. Take a look at our society. Are we really better off with our mothers going to work and then doing a second shift at home caring for their children? And then there was the father who said "Well, I'd love to stay home instead of going out to work every day. To think, you can have your own schedule, nap when you want..." Really? When do you suppose he spent more than an afternoon with multiples of children?
Think of the sound of a baby crying. It is as offensive to the ears as well as the entire nervous system as a jack hammer. At five o'clock a construction worker turns off his jack-hammer, removes his hard hat, his special ear protectors, and work shoes and goes home. A mother looks at the clock, and thinks, how much longer? The jack-hammer crying doesn't end at 5:00 p.m. It's not like she can put the baby down and go home. She is home.
Think of listening to that crying for hours at a time because of colic, teething, upset stomach, who knows, the wee one doesn't speak, yet. And if all this goes on at night, you are still on duty the next morning. Then there is always one child that likes to throw a tantrum or two. Now that is something to experience in line at the grocery store. Meal time is always exciting, especially these days when so many mothers are also spending hours a week chauffeuring. One of my favourite jobs was picking up one of my children from school with the younger siblings in tow who had to be woken from naps and dressed to go in the car. This was even more delightful in the winter.
I was told by a wonderful child psychologist that it takes about 16 years to know if you have succeeded in "producing" a successful model. Sixteen years. Think about that. What other profession puts in 24-hour days, seven days a week to produce a finished product? I can only think of scientist/researchers who can spend 10 to 20 years looking for a cure for something.
Most people who go to work see the outcome of their input within a reasonable amount of time. Even authors can usually finish writing a book in less than 16 years. Except the job of motherhood isn't over at 16 years. That is the point when you can see if everything you have taught them, especially morals, values and ethics, has been internalized. They can still go off the rails. Drugs. Alcohol. Unprotected sex. Today, children are still at home in their early 20s and beyond. Age doesn't reduce the constant concern of a parent for a child. My children are all parents. But they are still my children to me.
There is no more difficult or more important job than raising children. When we fail, our children fail. Even when we give them all of our attention, with the best of intentions, we can fail. Stay at home mothers are responsible for the next generation. Not the next car or the next computer. I remember a young mother of three telling me that we are only as happy as our unhappiest child.
I do not want to pit one mother against another. But, I am tired of the lack of respect we show to moms who choose to stay home and raise their children, prepare their meals, and attempt to make their homes a sacred place for their family. I have no doubt that these women rarely think of their work as sacred. But it is.
<a href="https://twitter.com/kateygoalie" target="_blank">Angie Seth, Toronto, Ont. </a> "I am a Mother of three beautiful children (18-year-old, 3-year-old old and 1-year-old) who I cherish every day. My wish is almost the impossible: to ensure they will always be safe, happy, successful, healthy. That they will always follow their dreams, laugh every day, love to their fullest, and to take care of each other. A good night sleep for Mommy would be nice too! Happy Mother's day to all those heros out there!"
<a href="http://www.kiokko.com/" target="_blank">Cindy Cheung, Montreal, Que.</a> "A morning full of snuggles in bed and be showered with hugs and kisses all day long!"
<a href="http://www.hol-fit.com/" target="_blank">Ange Peters, London, Ont. </a> "I'd like to start the day with a breakfast that didn't come out of a blender and end the day being in bed at 9 p.m. with not single thing on my to do list for Monday morning"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/andree-lau/" target="_blank">Andree Lau, Richmond, B.C.</a> "Since I'm incapable of sleeping in anymore, I would really like a luxurious brunch at a great restaurant with my great family. The best Mother's Day gift would be a stall-free toddler bedtime that doesn't take hours."
<strong>Kaila Beattie, London, Ont. </strong> "For Mother’s Day I would love a lazy day at home to enjoy some board games, but with NO FIGHTING."
<strong> Tehani Mott, Mississauga, Ont.</strong> "What I REALLY want for Mother's Day is a vacation with my family!"
<strong>Naomi Silver, Toronto</strong> "I am a first time mom who's excited to celebrate my first Mother's Day after many years of extensive fertility treatment. Our little girl is truly a miracle and I am so looking forward to Mother's Day. In the past it was the most painful day and I would hide under my pillow but this year I intend to lavish my baby with endless kisses and celebrate motherhood which is the one thing I have enjoyed most in my life. I don't need gifts or fancy brunches, having my little daughter to squeeze and kiss is priceless."
<strong>Makini Smith, Whitby, Ont. </strong> "What I really want for Mother's Day is breakfast in bed and a clean house with no kids fighting!"
<strong><a href="http://www.claire-cameron.com/" target="_blank">Claire Cameron, Toronto</a> </strong> "I want to hold the damn remote."
<strong>Aliya Jiwan-Thawer, Toronto</strong> "Aside from being able to sleep uninterrupted for hours, what I'd really like is an entire week without having to cook or clean, be able to leave the house without food or boogers on my clothes and some kind of potion that can make the guilt of being a busy working mom magically disappear."
<strong>Bj McCullough, Kanata, Ont.</strong> "The greatest blessing of just ONE day of complete family togetherness. Life is busy, my greatest love is motherhood, I love my kids as BIG as the world. One day with no agenda."
<strong>Ghidei Mahmoud, Toronto</strong> "Continued health and success of my children."
<strong>Heather McDonald, Toronto</strong> “I would like it to be Mother’s DAY not just Mother’s MORNING. I would like to be spoiled all day with homemade gifts and smooches from my sons. I would also like a romantic poem written by my husband, read aloud, telling me how he would be lost without me.”
<strong>Sarena Seidman-Kornblum, Toronto</strong> "A pastry brunch at city bakery in NYC with my son and husband, followed by some family time in Central Park!"
<strong>Barroso Homes, Toronto</strong> "What I really want for Mother's Day is to sleep in (for once), take a long bath (in silence) and then enjoy/share a beautiful breakfast with the two most wonderful and loving children ever. They are truly my 'sunshine' and I could not bare to think I would spend a moment of Mother's Day without them."
<strong>Courtney Lewin, Richmond Hill, Ont. </strong> "What I really want for Mother's Day is homemade cards or special homemade gifts from my sons, a nice bouquet of flowers and to spend the day with the people I love the most in this world."
<strong>Lindsay Collins, Toronto</strong> "I'm running my first 10k on Mother's Day this year and I want my daughter to be at the finish line. I want a moment or two without all the chaos of 'family' to just enjoy being with my kids and my amazing husband. I also want a solid picture with my mom and my kids - with everyone's eyes open, no one with food in their mouth and clothing covering all inappropriate parts. Nothing fancy necessary here; a cell phone picture will do."
<strong>Shawna Newbery, Ottawa, Ont.</strong> "Couch time and cuddles. Better than a croissant any day."
<strong>Tiffany Collins, High Level, Alta </strong> "I'd really love to be able to go to B.C. so my children could meet their grandparents!"
<strong><a href="https://twitter.com/@love_the_design" target="_blank">Christine Flynn, Toronto</a></strong> "This Mother's Day I'm wishing for the three B's - a Break from work, and some time spent with my three Boys (my hubby and my two sons) on the Beach where we spend the summers, near Lake Huron."
<strong>Laura Cheng, Toronto</strong> "For Mothers Day I would LOVE one night of uninterrupted sleep (even if this requires pumping milk and sleeping alone), a relaxing uninterrupted bath and a nice meal with my family at a restaurant we have never been to."
<strong>Brett Liske, Regina, Sask.</strong> "What I really want for Mother's Day is a glimpse into the future to see my children as joyful and wise people, having traversed through life's trials successfully. This glimpse would give me great joy and peace, knowing that they will be ok.
<strong>Maria Cianfrano, North York, Ont.</strong> "What I would love most for Mother's Day is TIME. Whether it be more time with my family or more time for me. Of course, during my "me" time I'd love to have a mani/pedi :)."
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/charlotte-singmin/" target="_blank">Charlotte Anna Singmin, Toronto</a></strong> 'For Mother's Day I want for my son to grow up surrounded by love and sunshine, in a world that is peaceful and just. Oh and anything in a little turquoise box would be nice..."
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/rebecca-zamon/" target="_blank">Rebecca Zamon, Toronto</a></strong> "I would love for my two-month-old son to allow me to get eight straight hours of sleep — and maybe let me in on what he's thinking. But mostly I'm just thrilled to be celebrating my very first Mother's Day with my beautiful, healthy boy."
<strong>Erica Zamon, Toronto</strong> "My Mother's Day would be perfect if it could include a couple of hours of pampering and some relaxation time — as well as the chance to enjoy the day with my husband and son, and our extended family."
<strong><a href="http://lailabiali.com/" target="_blank">Laila Biali, Brooklyn, N.Y. </a></strong> "For Mother's Day I would like to be carried in a hammock through Prospect Park while I catch up on some reading, and then deposited at a local day spa to enjoy four hours of quiet, vanilla-scented bliss. Dinner with the boys afterwards would also be nice -dine-out only, of course."
<strong>Bhairavi Patel, Richmond Hill, Ont. </strong> "I know boys will be boys, but if they could do a little less fighting and show more love towards each other that would be the best mother's day gift ever!"