By Maria Wiering
Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and it takes on new meaning for me this year because it’s my first as a mother.
There are no diapers, onesies or strollers yet – I’m due in late September, so it’s a time of expectant waiting and a growing belly. As we celebrate moms May 12, I’ll also be marking my pregnancy’s halfway point.
Amid talk of names, NUKs and nannies, pregnancy has prompted deeper discussions between my husband and me on how, exactly, we want to raise this child entrusted to us. One quickly learns just how many titles are on the market to advise us in this endeavor – some of them with the words “perplexed parents,” which isn’t encouraging for those of us new to the task.
There’s also the question of which child-rearing trend is worthy of trying. Should we raise our baby as the French do, as suggested by Pamela Druckerman, a la “Bringing Up Bébé”? Attempt to have the “Happiest Baby on the Block” – or at least the apartment building – with the advice of Dr. Harvey Karp? Is that achievable via the parent-child bonding methods advocated by Dr. William Sears, known for his classic “The Baby Book”?
It seems reading the ever-growing pile of parenting tomes could be full-time employment in itself, with no hours left for actually applying their theories.
Thankfully, my husband and I both have wonderful models in our own parents – his, parents of six, and mine of four – along with our grandparents. We celebrated their loving examples at our wedding, with invitations comprised of a family tree and table numbers featuring their wedding photos. That night we thanked them for giving us beautiful witnesses of married love, and now we are extra grateful we have seen how that extends to children.
This year’s Mother’s Day will have unprecedented meaning for my mom as well. This baby has given her the new title of “grandmother,” one she has already heartily embraced. (When people tell her she will be a grandma, she’s been responding “I already am!”)
The role comes at an auspicious time – on May 18, six days after Mother’s Day, she’ll watch my brother, her youngest son, graduate from high school. In the fall, he’ll move to another state for college.
I find it appropriate that as her daily role in her youngest child’s life wanes, her role will wax for me, her oldest. As a new mother, I find I need my mom more and more, increasing the frequency of my calls to Minnesota. I want to share every detail with her, and I need her wisdom, affirmation and direction.
This Mother’s Day, I am not only thanking my mom for her love, but also for teaching me every day how to be a mom myself.
I pray I can be half as good at it as she.
Maria Wiering is a staff writer at the Catholic Review.
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