We recently celebrated Mother’s Day. It is a day when we not only honor mothers, but celebrate the family, which is the basic building block of any society, and parenting, which is the most important job in the world (and may be the most difficult).
There comes a time in the life of every parent when the harsh reality sets in – you have become your parents. How do you know? You start saying the same annoying things to your children that your parents used to say to you. That realization hits you when you blurt out: “You ask why? I’ll tell you why. Because I said so, that’s why!” You are shocked when you hear yourself saying to your kids: “Do you think money grows on trees?” You cringe when you hear yourself say, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, clean your room!” Then there’s that all-time favorite: “Don’t make me come down there.” If you’re in a car, then it becomes “Don’t make me stop this car.” Without thinking, you say: “Stop crying, or I’ll really give you something to cry about!”
Then there is my personal favorite, “I’m doing this for your own good.” At the dinner table you say: “Eat your broccoli. It’ll put hair on your chest.” Of course little Suzy looks up at you and says: “But I don’t want hair on my chest.” You say to her: “Don’t talk back to me! Finish that broccoli now!”
My mother’s ultimate revenge was, “Wait until you have children of your own.” That was a frightening thought to me. What if my kids ended up just as bad as I was as a kid? That really scared me. Fortunately my kids were much better behaved than I was, so we dodged the bullet on that one.
The one thing I don’t repeat is: “You want to have your cake and eat it too.” My parents used to say that all the time, and I never understood what it meant. It doesn’t make any sense! Why else would you want cake – just to look at it? Of course I want my cake, and I do want to eat it too!
Despite their often annoying expressions, you could turn into someone a lot worse than your parents. Honor them, not only on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but all year round. If they are no longer with us, honor their legacy. They may have been flawed, but they still are our parents.