Being a Mom is Easy and Awesome, Right?

Being a Mom is Easy and Awesome, Right?

A teenager’s perspective on what it takes to be a good mother.

By: Elizabeth Kessler Hager

Being a mother is easy and awesome. You can be sultry and slim and have three kids. You have time to do everything. You know just what to say, and your kids listen. You know exactly how to solve problems. It just comes naturally.

Oh, wait. You don’t have time to do anything for yourself. Your life revolves around your children who don’t listen to you, don’t appreciate you and generally behave badly.

Your partner doesn’t give you a second glance. You feel caged.

Those are the two extremes I get from the media. It can really mess you up trying to look for role models who aren’t real people. When I was a little kid, the only mother I knew was my own mother. Now that I’m older and have lots of friends from different backgrounds, I know many different mothers. I know wealthy mothers who’ve never had to work. I know woo-woo mothers who don’t have their feet on the ground. I know a mom who had her first child when she was 16 and had to raise three kids on her own while working part-time and trying to finish school. I know moms who try really, really hard to look and act like their daughters. I know moms who want to be best friends with their daughters and kind of forget they’re mothers. I know moms who seem to live for their daughters and not themselves.

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And then there’s my mom. She can be a bossy, controlling pest who nags me about keeping my room clean, doing my homework and getting exercise. (“You would sleep so much better if you exercised.” “You would have so much more energy if you exercised.” “Your life would be perfect if you exercised.”) You get the idea. Great advice but nag, nag, nag.

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But I have to admit, if I can get past the nagging stuff, she is pretty much the best role model I can imagine. She’s super healthy and takes care of herself. She has a successful career but she also has spent a lot of time with me and my two brothers. She’s youthful. (But she doesn’t try to look like me! She has her own independent look.) She is powerful and stands her ground. I feel like she works for and earns my respect. She doesn’t say, “Do it because I say so — because I’m your mother.” She gives reasons. She helps me think things through.

Like mother, like daughter. Some day. I hope.

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