By Susie Cortright
Oh as if there weren't enough pressure in being a mom, my mother-in-law had to add this one.
"You are the hub of the wheel," she told me the other day. "If you're happy, your family is happy. If you're not happy, your family is not happy. If you have a bad day, your daughter will be fussy and your husband will be cranky."
I thought about that for awhile. If moms are having a good day, everything just falls into place. Every mother knows that babies who are just hours old can sense when the person holding them is crabby, tense or tired. When we most need a nap, our babies are least likely to take one. When we're having a bad day, babies and children have bad days. Husbands have bad days.
"That's a lot of pressure," I said.
She agreed. But she and I are different. She is so even-tempered, and I'm about as moody as they come. In my husband's birthday card one year, I stashed a bunch of homemade coupons. "Get your wife out of a bad mood FREE," they said.
Pretty clever, I thought, Until the day he tried to use one. This coupon, which completely trivialized whatever it was I was mad about, put me in a worse mood than ever. If I recall, I ripped it up and threw it at him. Some birthday present.
Don't get the idea that I'm vicious. Okay, I have my moments, but 99 percent of the time I am the happiest person alive. Perfectly fulfilled. Singing and dancing all over the place. But when I get sad, I get SAD. It's not so much that I lose my temper...I have tried very hard-and done a good job-of keeping that in check since I became a mom.
But it's hard to be happy all the time. I've always preferred the term "passionate" to "moody" and my husband's description is the most diplomatic of all: "Susie experiences the entire range of human emotions," he says.
I've always been a firm believer in the idea that bottling up your emotions does no good. Isn't it healthier to just let them out?
Besides, I thought, it's easy for her. My husband's mother is always happy. She is an absolute mentor of mommyhood. She is strong and kind. I'm not sure I've ever seen her angry or sad, let alone so depressed she takes it out on a half-gallon of Butter Pecan.
That's when it occurred to me that that's because she knows she's the hub of the wheel. She keeps us all together. She reduces the level of anxiety in a room just by entering. She'll have you pouring your heart out to her in the time it takes to pour a cup of Yuban. And before that percolator pours its last cup, she'll have solved your problems while silently solving her own.
Let's take a lesson from the moms before us. If you're the hub of your family wheel, sometimes the only thing you can do is roll, roll, roll.
So on those days when the furnace breaks, the sheriff delivers a summons, the dog poops on the carpet, and relatives show up unannounced hollering that your house smells like horses, remember that the big wheels keep on turning...
© Susie Michelle Cortright
Susie Cortright is the founder of momscape.com and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground -
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