BY-WAYS - 5/25/46 - On Being a Mom

Dear Mothers and Fathers and those that honor same. It's a wonderful thing to be a parent. And, speaking from personal experience, it's a glorious thing to be a mother. If any of you, my dear readers, have little tots under your feet all day, wetting their panties, falling down stairs, bruising their egos, dawdling over their cereal and spinach, breaking your back with weariness - just remember, these are the golden days, when these little innocents are yours - all yours. When they start to school, they begin to belong to the rest of the world. Just a little. Then comes the day that, unless you are very understanding, you feel a terrible pang of being no more than a cook, housekeeper and laundress for them. There comes that night when your little girl of twelve walks with you to the nearby school entertainment, and then deserts you for a girl friend, and leaves you to walk alone. There comes a time when your children begin to question the wisdom of everything you do and say. (Especially if you are strict and restricting, as I was). After a while, they are quite sure you are just an old fossil, who doesn't know what it's all about.

One very wise woman of my acquaintance, who reared five splendid children, who now think she is tops, spoke as the Voice of Experience, "If parents could only realize that their children, somewhere in their teens, set up someone else as their idol, they (the parents) would spare themselves many a heartache." Bob Hope once remarked that it was surprising how much his father had learned since Bob had left his teens. Then, when your children leave home, you think you have lost them? Then it is that you have really found them, and they have found you. You can see that I am a thoroughly selfish mother, craving the affection of my children. But how can you guide your children, unless you have their respect and affection? Out of the years of experience in mothering, may I give this bit of advice to young mothers - especially the mothers of teen-agers? Do not surrender your ideals to the loose standards of a passing age or clan. Hold fast to your heritage as a child of God, and do not sell it, or let your children sell it for a mess of mickey fin. To go back to the baby years (I really forgot this story in its place), I would like to tell you about a Cleveland mother, who wrote in to one of our best columnists the story of her little boy in his "late threes." Since he was "Opus 5" she didn't have much time to devote to him exclusively. She was busy washing one morning, and harassed with an overwhelming sense of countless duties awaiting her. "Mom," came a plaintive little voice from the top step of the basement stairs. "What do you want?" more cross than gracious. "Mom," with a pause that means listen, "you're wasting me." Needless to say, the loving young mother dropped her clothes basket, and went up and sat down beside him. "What do you want me to do, dear?" "Just put your arms around me." That wise young mother caught the full significance of that child's words, and so planned her days that one whole day a week could be his - to go to our parks, to visit the zoo, to enjoy his wistful years - the golden years.

And, oh, my dear young mothers, not one precious smile or caress or wise, un-nagged admonition is ever wasted. There comes a day when your children pay you back a thousand-fold.

Florence B. Taylor

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