mothering the hard way

For my mom — 
who always reads the dedications.
She is thorough in everything she does,
including especially parenting. 
Although I don’t think parenting is for everyone, perhaps everyone should be a parent so they can fully appreciate their own parents. I had no clue all the work and sacrifices that go into parenting until raising children of my own. And I still have no clue what goes on in the later years, I only have a tiny piece of the picture right now, but the piece I have shows me it is a relentless job with little thanks and a lot of crying (both them and me). 
So here’s where I give a massive shout out to my own mom, who raised not just me, but also my three siblings. Not only that, she homeschooled us which meant doing the work most parents do just for five years (before sending the kids to school) for twenty. And not only did she raise us and homeschool us, she did it the hard way (which I call the right way). She held us accountable to complete our school and chores and she disciplined us when we were disobedient. We were not spoiled nor did we throw temper tantrums. Mom was the boss and we respected her position. We were polite, respectful children with good work ethic who turned into those kinds of adults. 
Mom told me yesterday she envied those moms who would walk their daughters to school holding hands – they moms who are their daughters’ best friends. But I told her not to beat herself up about that. I told her daughters make all sorts of friends, but they only have one mother. It is the job of the mother to raise up the child to become a responsible, well-adjusted adult. Yes, that usually means you will not be best friends. But you will have your daughter’s respect and one day, many many years later, after she has children of her own, she will thank you for being what she needed. 
Mothers know what children need, and children know only what they want. Of course I’d like for my children to like me, but it is more important to me that they turn into fantastic young men. I will be the bad guy when I need to be. I will withhold toys and discipline them and make them eat their dinner and do their chores. And I won’t be popular in those moments. But my hope is that one day they are the kind of adults I want to hang out with because they are the kind of adults my siblings and I turned into. 
Thanks mom. You are my inspiration. But you can keep the hand holding between you and dad. It’s not a big loss – my hands are sweaty anyway.

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