How Naive I Was: A Note of Appreciation to My Mother


Who I Was: The Spoiled Daughter

Part of me fears raising two girls because I remember how obnoxious and under-appreciative I was to my mother. I expected things as an only child. When my mother did not immediately acquiesce, I turned to the ever so pleasant whining or whimpering.

There were the Friday nights when she was exhausted from work, and I’d ask her to drive me and a friend to a movie. She’d sigh and say, “Oh, alright.”

When we moved to a new apartment, I requested the master bedroom with its own bathroom. I vaguely remember saying I was scared to sleep in the smaller bedroom with the fire escape. Even though I would be going off to college in two years, my mother complied.

My mother is kind and giving beyond measure. She did almost everything for me and my father. She was almost always calm, and when she was “angry,” it was mild-mannered.

I used to believe she was nice to a fault. I used to believe we could not be more different. (Not that I’m not nice, but my first grade teacher told my mother that I was a “tough cookie.” The language related to my tough demeanor has changed a bit since then, but such a word has never been used to describe my mother).

Naive Then, Aware Now

I used to believe my mom was painfully uncool, but I now know otherwise.

She watched Knot’s Landing, Dallas, and Days of Our Lives. When I was home sick or staying up late for some random reason, I cozied up beside her. When the original Beverly Hills, 90210 aired and I wanted to watch it, she jumped at the chance for us to begin a new soap opera together. She read She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb when it was first published and passed it along to me.

We didn’t talk much about the adult content in any of those fictional story lines, but there was an unspoken understanding that existed between us. She had faith in my maturity and I felt safe. She was exposing me to the struggles that existed in the real world. It was her way of teaching me how to make good choices as a young woman.

Some of those good choices were about clothing. She’d sit outside the dressing room of Delia’s, Contempo Casuals, Kids R Us, and Aeropostale, reading a newspaper. When she looked up to see what I had tried on, she encouraged me to get clothes that were comfortable and in colors that accentuated my eyes. Instead of telling me something was too short, too tight, or too revealing, she’d say it looked uncomfortable. She was right.

She valued the natural look, rarely putting on make-up and not worrying about the frizz factor of her hair. I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was teaching me how to be comfortable in my own skin and body.

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Who I Want to Be: More Like Her

My mother is physically stronger than me. She described childbirth as no worse than period cramps. As a teenager, I couldn’t handle cramps and went on birth control for the sole reason of negating such pain. I never contemplated a drug-free birth.

My mother traversed a fourth floor walk up during the first 5 years of my life. I moved out of my own fourth floor walk up several months before my first baby was born.

Most of all, I now understand that my mother’s equanimity is her greatest strength. A strength I am still trying to emulate.

I have yelled at and/ or lost my patience with my kids and husband on numerous occasions. I have complained about problems that are minute in the grand scheme of things. It is at the age of 37 that I am making it my mission to become more like my mother.

I am my mother’s daughter. I am no longer as worried about raising my daughters, because I know the nature of my mother and the way in which she nurtured me will be my guide.

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Maria F
Maria F. is a high school English teacher who naturally finds herself reflecting upon the routine and randomness that accompany each day as a working mommy. She relies upon humor and some sort of chocolate or frozen treat as survival tactics. She and her husband live in East Norwalk with their three kids, Abbie (2012), Charlie (2014), and Phoebe (2018). You can find Maria F. driving in her beloved dream car, a minivan, listening to audiobooks during her commute, or playing DJ and climate controller when she’s shuttling her kids around town. Forever a sorority girl and Ohio State Buckeye, she will (almost) always choose socializing over chilling on the couch.


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