Mother Knows Best

This article, entitled "Mother Knows Best," comes from Annie Payne, MomsEveryday blogger from Western Colorado.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. I often reflect on the daily habits of my mom and grandmother and how much life has changed in a couple of generations.

My mother’s and grandmother’s generation took pride in homemaking, child-rearing, and social graces. They passed on their wisdom and habits of making house a home to their progeny, but some of it got swept under the rug to be rediscovered later by the modern homemaker.

Mom wore an apron.
Our mothers and grandmothers probably owned several. Aprons not only protected their dress, they were used as pot holders, dust rags, egg collectors, and to wipe tiny tears.

I wasn’t an apron-wearer until a few years ago when I received one as a gift. Once I had it, I couldn’t believe I lived that long without it.

Whenever I tie on my apron, with my clothes protected from food and dirt, I feel ready to work.

Mom did the grocery shopping once a week.
Mom went to the grocery store once a week with a list and coupons and bought everything she needed for several family meals.

We very rarely went out to dinner. We had a weekly menu posted on the pantry door. She made the meal; the kids set the table and cleaned the kitchen after dinner.

Busy modern mommies find themselves in the grocery store sometimes multiple times in a week. In this era of the superstore, it’s not unusual to come home with bags and bags of impulse buys from China along with the food items needed to feed the family.

There wasn’t a superstore here back then, so there were considerably less useless pieces of plastic around the house and in our bedrooms.

Unlike her modern daughter who eats at McDonald’s more often than she would like to confess, Mom never had a Rubber Maid box full of Happy Meal toys. In fact, I don’t remember Mom ever having the need to store things in plastic bins. We just didn’t collect that much stuff.

Mom had a garden
The garden has always been a joint project with my mom and dad. Dad prepares the beds and sows the seeds. Mom usually does the weeding and harvesting. They also have one lone peach tree has provided us with canned and frozen peaches for the whole year.

I have one garden box that was taken over by zucchini last year; rookie mistake. It will probably remain stagnant this year. Not enough time. Not enough desire for zucchini.

Mom had a laundry day and used a clothes line
Her children would wake up in the morning to find several loads of laundry sorted on the family room floor. By the time we came home from school, all the loads where washed, dried, folded and stacked neatly into piles on the couch according to their owner, ready to for us to put them away.

Mom didn’t have a front loading washer or super capacity dryer, but she had a clothesline to keep the loads moving when the dryer was already in use and Phil Donahue and “The Waltons” re-runs to keep her company as she folded.

I’ve just recently rediscovered the wisdom and convenience of a clothes line. I installed a retractable one on my back patio and use it every day during the warm months, especially during the summer, so not to let wet beach towels stagnate while waiting for their turn in the wash.

I have a friend that was so anxious to have clothesline installed in her new home that she hired a welder to make the posts and then she dug the three foot holes and mixed and poured the cement herself! Now that’s a “get `er done” attitude that our mothers and grandmothers would be proud of!

Mom sewed our prom dresses
Sewing, knitting, crocheting, and quilting are some of the skills of previous generations that are slowly and regrettably becoming a lost art. There are many reasons for this, the aforementioned superstore is one of them, but whatever the reasons, it’s certainly not a good thing. Fortunate are the women who despite the cost and time commitment still continue the craft.

My mom sewed several dresses for her girls over the years. When I was a sophomore in high school she made me a dress for the Homecoming dance and then we redesigned the same dress later in the school year for prom.

The work and skill it took to make that gown, I couldn’t replicate today. I have enough knowledge of my sewing machine to sew a straight stitch, which is enough to make curtains, but if my daughter, “Mini Me” ever asked me to make her a dress, it would have about as much style as a tube sock.

Mom was a mother first and a friend second
I think our moms and grandmas would agree that parents today are too easy on their kids. Bad behavior is all too often met with either punishments that go unenforced or no punishment at all.

My mom had the respect of her kids because she lived respectably. She taught us to show gratitude and was quick to correct us when needed.

Now, she has earned her right to be the doting, push-over of a grandma that she is to my kids.

Mom taught us to whisper in the library
Among the many things that I struggle to emulate in my mother, this is one lesson I have been able to teach my kids. Although, I don’t think every mother has done the same. It seems of late we have been the only ones whispering in the library. My kid’s have become convinced that it’s another one of those silly rules I’ve made up, like wearing matching socks or always packing a napkin in the lunch box.

Mom taught us to offer a chair to a lady
My mom taught her son to offer his chair to a lady, no matter her age. And she taught her daughters to offer our chair to a lady who is our elder or in need. I’ve taken my share of rides on public transportation and have cheerfully offered up my own seat, knowing it would make my mom proud.

How disappointed I was recently at a sporting event when two (ahem) gentlemen didn’t give my mother the same consideration. I hope they’ve gotten over the stink-eye I gave them.

Grandma always had food on hand to offer guests
I would be remiss not to mention my grandma. We always knew that there was food to be had at grandma’s house. She always had some sort of baked goods on hand for whoever might be stopping by. Her guests never left hungry. She also kept a candy dish full of Jolly Ranchers. The watermelon flavor still reminds me of her.

Hopefully, in my golden years, my daughters and granddaughters in turn will be inspired to follow the wisdom and example that I have learned from the women of my mom’s and grandma’s generation. Even after all these years, Mother still knows best.

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