Mother’s Daze

Happy Mother's DayMother’s Day is upon us once again—time to pony up for those cards & flowers, gourmet chocolates & dinner reservations, maybe even some breakfast in bed. Mother’s Day may be the one of the most commercialized holidays out there—it’s the biggest day of the year for restaurants—but let’s face it, mom deserves the attention.

My thoughts usually go to my own mother at some point during the weekend. If you’ve been keeping up, my mom passed away almost twenty years ago. She wouldn’t have won any Mother of the Year awards considering how her issues with drugs, alcohol & men affected her parenting—but she was still worthy of being honored at least once a year. It does bring up a good point, though.

I genuinely believe that even the worst mom deserves praise on Mother’s Day, even if only for birthing a child. I’ve watched three births, two of them my sons, and that shit is not easy. I wouldn’t do it. However, some of the stuff I see out here drives me nuts. I can’t tell you how many mothers I know who are constantly hooking up with the wrong men.

It’s sad, really. It was sad when my mother did it. Things were different—better—when she didn’t have a man around. It was so much more obvious that we were her number one priority. She would focus on her kids more. She was even more likely to stay clean during her man-free days, with the exception of the John O’Connor years. John was this guy from Jersey that she dated and was married to for some time from the mid 70s until early in the 80s. He was the one exception to her habit of choosing worthless assholes. Anyhow, it seems that every time she attracted one of these rejects, we would get shoved to the wayside.

She would bend over backwards to please him. Meals would suddenly revolve around him. She would serve him first and make sure he was finished eating before serving us. As a child, I felt disheartened every time she introduced us to a new prospect. And it never helped that each and every one of these losers would always end up in the same trash pile of discarded men once my mom had finally had enough of their bullshit. But often not before her children were traumatized by having to witness our mother being belittled, or worse, brutalized by her would-be beau. When she really liked a guy, she would keep him around, taking him back even if he had become abusive. At times, life with mom and her flavor of the month, as I began to think of them, was insufferable.

So I have something to ask of you moms out there: Make sure any man that meets your children is worthy of them. If you wouldn’t want your children doing anything that your man does, whether its drinking beer with breakfast, or hustling on the corner for income, then leave that man alone. The same way sports figures are role models, notwithstanding Charles Barkley, the men you bring into your children’s lives are even more so.

Far be it from me to rain on anyone’s parade. All moms, even selfish ones who put their search for companionship ahead of the welfare of their children, deserve happiness. But if that happiness comes in spite of rather than in concert with your children, it might be a good idea to check your priorities. I certainly wish my mother had before it was too late.

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