COMMENTARY 775.1: Mothers — Saints or Scapegoats?

What class of people has been more glorified or vilified than Mothers?

On the one hand, we are frequently confronted with an idealized image of the sainted, angel mother, often with white hair and hands callused from work. She is the embodiment of the most beneficent human qualities: nurturing, loving, devoted and wise. And she  is the favorite subject of greeting cards and poets.

On the other hand, mothers turn into a different sort of creature when they become mothers-in-law, the most dreaded of relatives and the butt of countless jokes.

Survey your friends about their attitudes toward their mothers and you are likely to get a wide spectrum of descriptions: from saint to scapegoat. While some are overwhelmingly grateful for what their mothers made of them and did for them, others are predominantly resentful, blaming their mothers for their failures and insecurities.

Though some mothers are consistently wonderful, some are predominately hurtful, and most are a mixed bag.

I won the Mothers Lottery. Although I did not have her long or know her well enough – she died in her forties – my mom was worthy of the Hallmark cards.  And my wife Anne deserves a place in the Mothers’ Hall of Fame. I hope you were as lucky. But what if you weren’t?

Women don’t lose their normal human flaws or become wise simply because they experienced childbirth. Still, becoming a parent does bring the best out of most people, and even less than perfect parents make huge sacrifices on behalf of their children.

Mother’s Day is a time to remember and celebrate the best in your mother, and to say thank you.

So, on Mother’s Day, every mother deserves to be treated like a saint or an angel.

You can receive these commentaries by e-mail each week by subscribing at our newsletter signup page,  you also can receive them each day (along with videos and all other contents of Michael Josephson’s What Will Matter blog) by downloading our app for smart phones. Finally, you can subscribe to the podcasts from iTunes.

Comments 4

  1. The same sterero-typing goes on in all walks of life. It should also be remembered that “childbirth” is not the only way a woman becomes a mother. As an adoptive mom of three children with special needs, I consider myself just as much a mom as those with a genetic connection to their child.
    I think one of the biggest opportunities we have as parents is to acknowledge our imperfections, be willing to say, for example, “I’m sorry, I don’t like how I handled that” therby giving our children “permission” to be imperfect. Once the pressure of perfection is gone, they have the freedom to grow into the person they were meant to be.

    1. Oh my goddnes you said it so very well. My first child I tried so hard. Way way to hard. Perfection was and ideal goal. I realised later in life as a young inexperienced mother with no training( or not healthy training) this was not healthly. Now I am healthlier and happy and so are my children and grandchildren and so on.
      Unhealthy Expectations and can stop and life in harmony can exsit. Training is key. Listen, learn and surround yourself with what you want not what you have. It can change everthing.

  2. I have two daughters-in-law. One feels that I was sent from God to her and had her two daughters pray that they would get a mother-in-law like me. The other daughter-in-law feels I was sent straight from hell. Oddly, I am the same person and have have treated them both alike. The old saying “you can win some and lose some’ holds true for me.

  3. Mike, please pull the needle out.

    This age of mothers, if they as a group are to deserve any accolades, they need to engage the cultural battle that is destroying the family, and this battle in large measure has been fought by and on behalf of ….females, daughter, wives, and mothers. Their sons have been virtually kicked to the curb and mothers have little to be proud of in America at this time.

    It begins with the idea that for the past 40 years the ‘movement’ has opposed patriarcal society to the degree that there has virtually been NO positive image of the white male father in major media commercial outlets.. Just look at television commercials on the primary source of ubiquitous media.

    If you wish to be taken seriously, then address these topics seriously without saccarine and cow patties piled high…..and motheres where ever you are…get in the darn game.

    Then add to that the ‘fashion’ that mothers purchase for their daughters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *