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.

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