Who’s your favorite mother? Well, besides your own, of course. Or maybe you always wished you had the mom down the street instead of the one God gave you—the one that let her kids come and go as they pleased, never issued all those pesky rules and ultimatums, and was SO much cooler.
While I greatly admire the wise and wonderful Marmee from Little Women , I must confess that my favorite mom is June Cleaver. A fellow mother of sons, June offered the perfect blend of intelligence, humor, assertiveness, skepticism, modesty, graciousness and spunk. During all those years when I watched faithfully every week as Mrs. Cleaver capably dealt with crisis after crisis, I had no idea I’d have a Beaver and Theodore of my own someday. Thankfully, my days as a mom never brought forth an Eddie Haskell or a baby alligator to deal with; even so, I feel certain my sons benefited from lessons my subconscious surely retained as I watched June carry out her role as Arbiter of Domestic Harmony without ever breaking a sweat.
In contrast, my own mother sweated a lot to keep me on the appropriate path to adulthood. Working in the yard was always her favorite way to reduce stress; let’s just say our yard looked TERRIFIC during my teenage years! While our living room looked just like the Cleavers', our confrontations weren’t nearly as polite--and occasionally involved a ruler, flyswatter, or switch to help focus my attention. Because I loathe confrontations and learned early the power of words, my favorite battle tactic was to leave a note on Mother’s pillow detailing her horribly unfair assessment of my sin du jour, her ridiculous overreaction, and the depth to which her wrath had grievously wounded me. It’s too bad she didn’t save any of those notes; they would have made great reading all these years later.
I worry about the moms we’re watching on TV and in movies today. Are they instilling/demonstrating essential traits such as honesty, compassion, and integrity? Self-respect and self-control? Do the Real Housewives of Wherever even know those terms? And if new generations aren’t being taught basic values, where exactly is civilization headed?
Be proactive this month: tell a good mom she’s worth a lot more than she realizes. And next time you vacuum, put on your pearls; maybe June knew something we don't.