Monday, October 11, 2010

Just A Mom

I am starting this post out with an email that I received today.  I don't know the source of the written words called "JUST A MOM?"  If I did, I would include you as the author, but I don't know who you are.  Thank you for your words of humor and truth.


A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk's Office, was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.
She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
"What I mean is," explained the recorder,
"Do you have a job or are you just a ....?"
"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman.
"I'm a Mom."
"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation, 'Housewife' covers it," said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.  The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."
"What is your occupation?" she probed.
What made me say it?  I do not know?  The words simply popped out.
"I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."
The clerk paused, ball-point frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.
I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.  Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out).  I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters).  Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).  But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, 7, and 3.  Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby), in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.  I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!  And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another Mom."

What a glorious career!  Especially when there's a title on the door.
Does this make grandmothers "Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations"
And great grandmothers "Executive Senior Research Associates?"  I think so.
I also think it makes Aunts "Associate Research Assistants."

I love the humor of the above words and titles.  Why does it take a title to give a mother the importance that she deserves.  Mothers play such an important role in the lives of their children and therefore the world.  I hope that I was this type of mother - one who researches and grows as her children grow.  In my own eyes, I often fell short as a mother.  Why?  I wasn't given the proper tools to be the kind of mother that I wanted to be to my children.  Who is?  Especially those of us who comes from homes with dysfunction and abuse.

I grew up wanting to be a better mother than my mother was to me.  Yes, my mother did the best that she could with the tools that she was given, and it wasn't good enough.  I did not want to repeat that pattern with my own children, especially the patterns of abuse and emotional abandonment.

I believe that mothers are the most important role model for their daughters because we are both women.  Mothers fill so many roles in the life of a child.  Mothers teach us about loving and caring for others.  They teach us kindness and how to nurture ourselves and others.  As little girls, mothers teach us how to be women just as daddies teach little boys how to be men.  So much of who I am comes from my mother.

To quote a comment that I left on my Facebook page today, "My mother/daughter relationship was confusing and difficult.  I always told myself that my mother loved me.  I now know that my mother couldn't love me because she didn't love herself.  She was so shut down emotionally.  The only emotion that got through from her to the world [and to me] was rage and she did that silently.  She didn't know what love was.  She wasn't taught to love.  Dysfunctional families cannot teach what they don't have - self love."

My inspiration for this post came from fellow blogger Darlene Ouimet.  On her blog Emerging From Broken, Darlene has been writing a series of articles about the relationship that she had with her mother.  The latest article is called "Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares."  You will find this blog article are the following link:

I warn you that some of the comments for this article of Darlene's are brutally honest and may be tear triggering for some of you.  Everyone of the people - women and men - are being courageous in sharing their stories of pain and healing in their comments.  I thank you Darlene for being the one to bring this out into the open so that we can all break the silence of abuse and continue to heal.

Related posts:
Your Parents Did The Best They Could found at


me as i am said...

thank you patricia, so much. your writing always gives me something good for me. today it gave me comfort and inspiration. i tend to look at myself only in terms of flaws, but am struggling lately to focus on the good. to see how i progress, instead of only the areas where i need to.

thank you for all you do.

sending love your way~

Patricia Singleton said...

Katie, you are very welcome. I am glad to that my writing gives you something good to think about. I do believe that being a Mother is the most important job that anybody can have. Most of us don't live up to our own expectations. I know I don't. I have to keep remembering a slogan that I learned in 12-Step programs - Progress, not perfection. Have a glorious day.

Colleen said...

Beautiful article. Thank you.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, thank you and you are welcome.

Darlene Ouimet said...

Hi Patricia;
All I wanted was to be a better mom to my kids too. And you know what, that is all my mother wanted when she had us too. I think she was a better mother then the one that she had, but it didn't do me any good. She really failed, I know that sound harsh, but all my life I used her past as an excuse to excuse her and I took her abuse. I don't take it anymore. I didn't have the tools with my kids either, but I looked for them. I think I found some of them before it was too late too! I am doing the best I can to model truth to them. They are growing up fast and we have good relationships and they like hanging out with me.. this has to be a good sign, they are all teens ranging from 13 to 19.
Thanks for this blog Patricia and thanks for refering to mine too. Hugs, Darlene

Patricia Singleton said...

Darlene, I hope it didn't sound like I was making excuses for my mom. That is why I wrote the post called "Your Parents Did The Best They Could." That post is about how angry I would get when I heard someone say that. Excuses for abusing a child, however much I may understand them, still doesn't make the abuse right. No matter what your history is, even if you were abused like we were, it is no good reason to turn around and abuse your own children. I made mistakes with my children. There are differences between making mistakes and actually abusing your children like our parents did.

As a child, I was my mother's protector and I continued to be her protector for many years as an adult because I didn't know any better. Today I am not my mother's protector. I see her for what she was-an abuser through neglect and refusing to see what was in front of her. She didn't want to see. (((Hugs))) back to you.

Thank you for writing your blog. The article that I linked to here has helped me to pull out of whatever funk I have been in for the most of the past year. I have written more on your blog and here than I have in over a year.

Darlene Ouimet said...

Hey Patricia,
No, I didn't think you were making excuses for your mom; reading your post made me remember how much I know my mom tried, even though she still failed. (I feel sorry for her, but that almost killed me) Just a different story than yours.) I love your blog too and I really appreciate all your participtation on mine. You add SO much!
Hugs, Darlene

Patricia Singleton said...

Darlene, thank you. Yes, reading your blog articles about your mother and all of the comments make me realize that my mom wasn't as abusive as a lot of others were. I can be grateful for that. My dad was my main abuser.

Tracie Nall said...

This is such a huge topic, I'm just not sure I can really do it justice in this comment (which explains why I have written and erased about three totally different comments already).

I struggle with those "not good enough" feelings as a parent. I worry that I am doing things wildly wrong (things that I have no clue about) and won't find out until it is too late and my daughter is grown and the damage has been done.

The one thing that I know for sure is that there is no abuse in her life. I hope that small missteps I might make along the way will not change her life or harm her.

Some days I feel like I am learning how to do this life thing right along with her.

Patricia Singleton said...

Tracie, you expressed yourself very well. You expressed the very same doubts that I had as a parent when my children were young. Out of my rigidness and fears, I can't say that I didn't cause harm to my children. I didn't sexually abuse them like what was done to me but I did pass on some of my fears before I got healthier.

Marj aka Thriver said...

I LOVE this! Thanks for sharing this with us for the blog carnival, Patricia. I have often felt inferior and have been tempted to say myself, "I'm just a mom." So, this is a good reminder for me.

Another good reminder is the fact that my mother, also, could not love me because she did not love herself. I have a hard time remembering that sometimes. Thanks!

Patricia Singleton said...

Marj, you are very welcome. I need to be reminded of this sometimes too. That is why I wrote this post.