As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let’s not forget that we all have family stories to tell. I have one about a stuffed bear who helped our family when my son was still an infant.
I often get fascinating letters and emails from listeners to my radio program.
Recently, I was invited to join a group in support of removing Father’s and Mother’s Day celebrations in public schools. Upon looking further into this group, I found that the founder of this group was a single mom “by choice,” and was angry her child was being made to feel bad because the other children have daddies, and hers does not. I wanted to send you the email I sent her:
I think you should seriously consider shutting down this group. I find
it interesting you “chose” single parenthood for your child, but are not punishing those who did not for YOUR decision. The majority of children have a mother and father and those who don’t will have to learn to deal with disappointment and adapt. You act as though she shouldn’t have to learn to deal with disappointment, but in order to become a productive adult, she will. Sadly, this disappointment was thrust upon her by you. Instead of sitting down with her like an adult and explaining why she doesn’t have a father and why you chose that life for you, you are placing the blame on the school system for making her feel bad and putting her in an uncomfortable situation. You do realize Father’s Day isn’t the only time she’ll be reminded she has no father, right? By making this subject taboo, you are making her feel further alienated and, in the same breath, telling her you made a decision for her that was wrong. Make up your mind. Either you did this by choice and are willing to deal with the consequences, or you are embarrassed by the situation you are in and you want to cover up your mistake so your daughter doesn’t have to know. Grow up and take ownership of your choices.
I cannot tell you how happy I was to read this. I hope that you are taking stands whenever you see people deconstructing the family to permit themselves the freedom to do whatever the hell they want.
The woman referred to in this letter, like so many others, decided : “I want a kid.” “I want a kid” – not “Gee, I’d really like to be a Mom. What’s in the best interest of a child?” How about a mom and a dad, married, and no daycare? No. It was just what “I” want for this woman. So with this group, she has tried to deconstruct the family in the public schools by saying there’s no Mother’s or Father’s Day – it’s all irrelevant – trying to cover up that she knows she did something wrong to her kid, by intentionally robbing her child of a father, for her own selfish needs. And our society is giving all of that a pass: “anything you want to call ‘family’ is a family.”
It appears that it doesn’t matter what a kid needs. It just matters what the adults want.
In the feminista days of my youth (college in the 1960′s) I took up the sword of the feminist movement’s message that marriage and mothering were yokes of oppression. Fortunately, I recovered from that ailment in time to become a wife and mother. Since my “rehab,” I’ve been a fervent supporter of adoption over abortion and mothering over institutionalized day-orphanages. I’m grateful to be able to say that I’ve been able to influence over 30 years’ worth of listeners to my radio program.
To celebrate this Mother’s Day I have decided to share of some their letters and lives:
TaShanique: I began listening to your radio program before I got pregnant, and when I discovered that I was expecting, it was clear what I had to do. My husband gave me the go-ahead to quit my stressful job in March of 2007, even though my son wasn’t due until late July. I was prepared to be a stay-at-home mommy. One thing I wasn’t prepared for was all the backlash that I received. I heard that I was being arrogant in assuming that I could teach my child everything by sheltering him from the world; I would be spoiling my child by not exposing him to other people. Also, after church one day, I yawned and someone said to me ‘Why are you yawning? You don’t have a job so you shouldn’t be tired!’ I thought it was a joke, until I saw he wasn’t laughing.
This may have not bothered most people, but I was suffering from postpartum depression and had a hard time with such negativity from others. I also hadn’t been receiving my regular ‘dose’ of Dr Laura, so I started to second- guess myself as to whether or not I had made the right choice.
However, it seems like everything changed in one day. I got stuck in traffic and turned to your broadcast and listened to you encourage mothers to ‘go do the right thing.’ When I got home, my husband greeted me with a big hug and kiss, and told me that I was doing a great job and that he’s proud to have me as his wife and the mother of his son. I was doing the right thing; I was being my son’s mother and my husband’s wife.
That same evening, a person who had been the most critical toward me called me and was very upset. The pediatrician who cares for her daughter begged her to remove her daughter from day-care because she is constantly ill and underweight. She was upset at the pediatrician, and asked me what she should do. I told her to go do the right thing, which she took to mean that it was time to criticize me once again for making the choice to stay at home. I told her that I had to go make dinner for my family and hung up. What she had to say didn’t bother me.
My husband and I are planning on having another baby next year. This time I will be well prepared. I am currently creating a list that contains the reasons why I stay at home. That will ensure that even through postpartum depression that I won’t forget that I did the right thing.”
Karen: I have been wanting to write to you since my first daughter was born 4 years ago to proclaim ‘I am my Kid’s Mom!’ and to tell you that I could not have done that without your encouragement.
My parents did not teach me that the most important job in the world was being a parent. My father did not respect my mother’s role as wife and mother, and my mother obviously resented being his wife. While she did tell us that being a mother was her greatest joy, I am not sure that she ever would have stood on a mountaintop to proclaim, ‘I am My Kid’s Mom!’
Since that time, my parents divorced. My mother died a month before my wedding, and my greatest sadness is that I cannot share with her my complete joy and happiness in being a parent. My father, having had some dramatic life changes, has completely supported me and continually tells me how proud he is that I am choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, and to be ‘My Kid’s Mom.’ By the way, he listens to you as well and I made him a t-shirt with a picture of him holding my daughter at 6 hours of age – the t-shirt says, ‘I am my grand-daughter’s grandpa!’
I am now 42 years old. I did not meet the man of my dreams until I was 36, so we had to work quickly to start our family. When I met the love of my life, I knew that he was the man that I wanted to be the father of my children. I was so right. He and my daughter are glued to each other every waking moment; she is happy to sit in his lap and watch C-SPAN! Every day that I see them together, I fall in love with him more and more. My favorite pastime is listening to them over the baby monitor as they read and giggle together!! He is definitely his kid’s dad.
I remember as a teenager saying that I never wanted to get married or have a family – I did not want to give up my independence. If I did, I wanted to be able to afford a full-time nanny. What a crock of crap! The day my daughter was born I changed my voice mail. Instead of the business response, it now says, ‘You have reached the proud mama of K.R.A. Sorry we can’t take your call, but we are busy at the park, at the playgroup, at the pool, at music class, etc.’
I was so worried about my professional identity before she was born. Took me less than two minutes to toss my professional identity out of the window because ‘I am my Kid’s Mom!’
While this is a great story, where do you fit in, Dr. Laura? I never, ever would have wanted to be my kid’s mom without your encouragement as well as some modeling from some of my friends. So, thank you for your wisdom and nagging.
Excelsa: I am a stay-at-home mom to my 1 year 7 month old daughter. Each day I teach her several words and she repeats them after me. I started with the simple words and progressed to more difficult ones. I went through all the body parts, then animals, then constellations and other miscellaneous words. Well, just when I was beginning to wrap things up, I said to my daughter, ‘Honey, can you say love?’ She smiled her cute little smile and said, ‘Mom.’
Oh, my heart just melted. My husband was listening, and he just picked up our daughter and gave her the biggest kiss and said, ‘Yes, honey, Mommy is love.’
Just thought I’d let you know that this is such a defining moment for me as a mother, and that I know I am doing a great job raising my daughter.
Final Thought: A caller to my radio program described being a surrogate mother for her brother and sister-in-law. Preliminary tests suggested that the baby has Down Syndrome. The brother and sister-in-law want her to abort; she wanted my opinion. I suggested that she get them in contact with parent groups of Down Syndrome children for support and information; and if that did not change their minds, to either keep the baby herself (she was married) or get them to sign away their rights and offer the child for adoption. I received scores of letters from married women willing to adopt this child.
Happy Mother’s Day.