Mother’s Day is always a joyful occasion because one of the most important goals that I had since I can remember was to become a mom. With six pregnancies and three successful births, I feel that I am the luckiest woman to have had the opportunity to have three beautiful girls who are the best part of my life. I can't help but think about my mother on Mother’s Day. Sure, I am a mom and feel extremely blessed, but my mother is the person I am thinking about and feeling an extreme sense of gratitude for.
Mother’s Day is a time to be nostalgic, and while I am thankful for my mother for all that she is and all that she has done, I am also reminding myself that it is important to care for myself and to prioritize my needs so I can be a better person and a happier mom. So I have decided to thank my mom and also share what I have learned from being a mother and a daughter.
Thank you, mom, for taking care of me when you were dealing with such distress. Thank you for doing the best you could when you could barely afford to put food on the table. I spent so many years angry and resentful of my mom for sending me away to live with another family at age 12 because I thought that she didn’t love me. I now realize that she did that because she loved me and it must have been the most difficult thing she had to do.
OK, this is not a blog about sadness but rather why I am so grateful and thankful for my mom. There are so many reasons to love and appreciate my mom but I have decided to mention a few here.
Reason 1: You are such a hard worker.
You worked so hard so that you could provide the basic needs for me, my sisters, and my little brother. I think about you at age 13, which is how old Oren, my middle daughter is, working in a factory and trying to support your family. How did you have so much willpower to work so hard since such a young age? Did you wish you had time to spend with your friends? To study? To do whatever it is that young girls do when they are 13? I remember my mom running around from place to place to make sure that we had what we needed for survival. When my father was not around, which was for large parts of our childhood, she remained strong and positive and continued to work as hard as she could so that she could keep us at home.
Because of my mom, I have a very strong work ethic, but I am also able to balance work and family life and to make sure that I prioritize the things that matter to me most—which is my children. My motto is work hard, play hard, and with my mother in mind, I work extremely hard but also work hard to balance motherhood and work.
My mom Rahel, my sisters Anat & Vered and my brother Moshe
Reason 2: You never complained about anything.
When I think about my mother and how she never complained about anything in her life, I am flabbergasted. How is it possible for a human being to go through so much and never complain? My mother lives in Jaffa D, one of Israel’s poorest neighborhoods. She lives in a small two-bedroom apartment, and if you ask her about her apartment and living situation, she will tell you that she lives in a castle and she feels like a queen. My mother is a very simple person who is also the most selfless person I know. While I am grateful that my mom was a very good and modest person and sacrificed so much while she put herself last, I am also extremely aware of the fact that it is important for me to be vocal about things that are important to me and express my thoughts and feelings in the appropriate way.
Reason 3: You always strived for Shlom Baiit (keeping the peace).
I am not sure how my mother managed to never cause any problem between me, my sisters, and my brother or anyone else. Did you ever go to your mother and complain about one of your siblings or anyone else? What was her response? Not sure about your mother, but my mother would never create tension or stress between anyone and would always do her best to create peace. Sure, at times I wished that she sided with me when I told her about things that annoyed me about other people, but she always managed to impress me with her consistency and determination and somehow found a way to make me rethink whatever it was that I was annoyed about and find ways to create harmony between everyone.
I wonder how my mom got her incredible ability to stay neutral when at times it seems obvious that one side is on the wrong. Now that I am a mom I have a whole other appreciation for my mother. I remember my mother telling me that until I had kids I would not understand what it is to be a mom. Well, I have to admit that I was annoyed at that, but now I understand what she meant. Here, as much as I am trying to find a lesson that I have learned because of my mom’s behaviors I can only say that I am envious of the fact that she was able to create a space that is peaceful and calming despite living in a personal hell. I am blessed to have a husband who will do whatever it takes to make me happy. The thought of my mother suffering with my father makes me appreciate my husband even more and appreciate all that I have.
My girls Jordan, Oren & Shiloh & Rexy
Reason 4: She’s the most selfless person I know.
When I think about my mother and what she has sacrificed for her kids and her family I am left speechless. She married my father when she was 20 and became a mom shortly after. She had three girls under the age of 4 and somehow managed to work from home and be the sole caregiver and financial provider for the family. She never wanted to be a burden on anyone and felt that she had to keep her problems to herself. As a licensed psychotherapist, I have a hard time thinking about how she was able to do that and maintain a full-time job and take care of four children and my father—who was a lot to deal with. Well, my mother is a very special person and for those who know her, they know that she is indeed the most selfless person they know.
I am thinking about how challenging it must have been for her to send her three girls to live with three different families. How can any parent let their kids live with another family because they know that in the long term, this is a better decision? I remember lying next to my older daughter Jordan, who is now 15, when she was 12 and thinking about my mother making a decision to send me away because she wasn't able to keep me. This was a very memorable day and I remember crying while thinking about how I would feel if I had to let my daughter go and live with another family.
How did my mother make this decision and pretended to have a normal life? Even when I came to visit after three or four weeks, my mom still managed to put on a happy face and pretend that she was happy that we were not home. Clearly, this was the hardest decision any mother can make and just thinking about this makes me emotional, but again, somehow, my mom managed to put her needs last and only think about our best interest. How admirable is that? That being said, I think that as a mother, it is important that I express myself and my needs and make sure that my needs are also met and cared for.
There are so many more things to write about my mom and be thankful for, but I want to keep it short and sweet. What do you remember about your mother? What did she inspire in you? I hope that today, you take some time to think about things that you appreciate about your mom or a mother figure in your life.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!