Torts & Tots

Motherhood. Lawyer-dom. And maybe a few nice recipes.

I Am Thankful For Mothers.

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Most people have the luxury of doing their jobs out of the public eye.  Of course, every job intersects the public in some way, and some jobs more than others.  As a lawyer, some aspects of my job are open to the public, such as published opinions, trials, etc., and naturally, I am susceptible to the review and criticism of my co-workers.  But outside of my parents and grandparents, most of the people in my life don’t the know the outcome of any particular case or the details of my job performance.

And this brings me to how being a mother is different from most jobs in the world.  As a mother, my job is necessarily played out in public.  Unless I want to keep my kids confined at home, people I don’t know see how I handle my kids on a daily basis.  And, people I do know have a front-row seat to how I am raising my children, as I don’t do much without my kids in tow these days.  Having people involved in raising your children can be a wonderful thing.  One thing I’m sure you’ve heard me say before is the more people to love your children the better.  However, these days it seems like everyone is a parenting expert.  More and more, I have noticed total strangers inclination to “help” mothers parent their kids.  I truly have not had that many negative experiences with this.  I have felt all eyes on me when my kids are kicking up a fuss in a public place.  I have held my breath in an airplane with a baby on my lap and a toddler at my side.  But as an observer, I have noticed the unkindness other mothers have received.  I have heard the stage whispers of “can’t you control your kid” when a nearby mother’s child is not cooperating.  I have a friend who was actually yelled at in a public place by a “concerned” stranger who felt she was not keeping a close enough eye on her baby.  And I have even seen people on instagram commenting on parenting practices they observe via photographs.

This leads me to my oft-repeated mantra: parenting is personal.  Whether I agree or disagree with your parenting practices, how you raise your child is your decision.  You have to live with the child, not me.  I am a mother who has what I consider to be an average amount of child-related stress.  I do not have many factors, besides my children themselves, that contribute extra stress, such as a job with demanding hours, a child with special needs or a chronic health condition, a chronic health condition myself, etc.  And yet I know, that on any given day, I can feel overwhelmed.  It is that crazed I haven’t quite slept enough, ate a cookie for breakfast, have cracker mush dried in my hair, a purse overflowing with kid paraphernalia, not enough hands, a bucking bronco for a baby, a four-year-old with more demands than breaths, a shirt that is on inside-out, and a used Kleenex in my pocket kind of feeling.  No matter who you are – you in someway should be able to relate to the plight of mothers.  You either are a mother, have a mother, know someone who is a mother, etc.  So all I am asking for myself and for all mothers is kindness and understanding and for you to not roll your eyes and audibly grimace when my kid spills her drink and it almost splashes you.

In the sense of full-disclosure, I fail at this as much as anyone.  I criticize the parenting of others (quietly, inside my house, at midnight, of course).  The voice in my head says “get control of your kid, lady.”  So, out of fairness, I am giving myself and the voice inside my head a strong talking to because I know how those mothers feel.  

To help the turning over of my new leaf, I am kicking off a week of thankfulness for the mothers in my life.  There are numerous talented and amazing women in my life that are raising or who have raised talented and amazing children.  For these women, I feel grateful and humbled. 

The first woman I am grateful for is my very own sister.  Erin, I am grateful for you and the kind of mother you are.  You are raising a smart, curious, unique and engaged human-being.  Yes, I know I am biased, but the kid knows all the verses to “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad” and even hums at the appropriate moments.  He knits (I’m not making this up).  He colors in the lines better than most adults, and he has an unparalleled thirst for knowledge that my sister is constantly feeding.  If reading the favorite man in your life the dinosaur encyclopedia from cover to cover is not love, then I don’t know what is.  I know it is not easy to love another person and rearrange your life for him, but you are doing it and doing well.  I would be lucky if Avery and Claire turn out as bright and perceptive as my favorite nephew, Tom. 

Stay tuned, friends.  I’ll be here all week.


Written by tortsandtots

November 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Thanks for the kind words! I, of course, agree that Tom is quite wonderful. I do not think that I can take much credit for that. I also agree with you about the public parenting advice. I got some advice over the weekend from a total stranger and I found it quite upsetting.
    Kisses to my beloved nieces!


    November 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

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