Four Generations, circa 1974. Check out Blanche, my Great-Grandmother, Betty, my Grandmother, Janet, my Momma and little baby Sharon.
In celebration of MommyVerbs’ first Mother’s Day,
I give you a four generation look at
Moms and Kids since 1928.
Betty/Mom/Maw Betty/White Maw
Born in 1928
Raising 4 kids in the ‘50s and ‘60s
Born in 1949
Raising 2 kids in the ‘70s and ‘80s
Born in 1972
Raising her 2 kiddos well, today.
Y: Born in 2005
Being a pretty awesome kid, everyday.
On Being a Kid:
When you were a kid, what are three adjectives that describe your Mom’s mothering style?
Betty: My Momma was just wonderful. She was strict when she needed to be, but also lenient and understanding. She was just a good friend to us girls. I can’t pick just three words, that’s too hard.
Janet: My Mom is nurturing. She is protective. And when I provoked her, as I sometimes did, she could be lovingly volatile … but those make for some of our best stories today.
Sharon: As a kid, I always thought my Mom was cool. She was available for us. My Mom was fun and she let us have fun.
Y: What’s an adjective? (pausing to give a quick grammar lesson…) Loving. Funny. Helping.
What are two of the your favorite memories of your Mom, growing up?
Betty: My Momma allowed us to have our friends over and we wore out rugs dancing on the living room floor. We would eat popcorn and other treats. She was good to let us do things like that. When we started dating, she would be stay awake, waiting for us. Then we would come in and sit on the edge of her bed to tell her about our date that evening. She would listen to all of the details and she was always so excited for us. But she was strict too and she expected us to be home at a certain time and follow her rules.
There are endless things to make her a wonderful mother. She was my best friend growing up. I can’t narrow the list to two favorite memories. That is not enough to describe what she meant to me. She’s been gone since 1997 and I miss her everyday.
(By the way, she’s my Grandmother, my lovely and beautiful Maw Betty…I didn’t make her follow my rules.)
Janet: My Mom was always so good to try to get me help for whatever I needed. She was proactive and always tried to meet our needs. I was always very proud of her, she was so pretty. But of course, like most kids, I would get embarrassed when my Mom would come to school to bring cupcakes or something.
I remember that she always played with us when we were little. She taught me to dance. As a matter of fact, she taught all of my friends to dance, too. We would jitterbug in the kitchen.
I was scared of the dark until I was 12. She slept with me so I wouldn’t be scared.
And then I’ll always remember when we were arguing when I was in high school, and she said, “When you graduate I’m going to get you a set of luggage and have it waiting on the front porch.”
Of course, she didn’t and I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get any luggage. <3
(By the way, she’s my Mom, my lovely and beautiful Momma…I didn’t make her follow my rules, either.)
Sharon: My Mom really worked to make things fun. She was intentional about birthdays and holidays and always trying to make family time fun. She let us really play and make messes. We built houses out of cardboard boxes that lived in her living room for months and months.
She taught me what I know about appreciating good music. She still misses her Eagles album, circa 1976.
My Mom worked really hard to try to get us to Eat Well, even back in the day, trying new things. (Kind of like I do now, when I make quinoa and call it ‘curly rice’.) I remember her preparing dinner one night that we were suspicious of when she was calling it ‘chicken parts’ aka chicken liver.
(And apparently, I don’t follow my own rules of two memories either.)
Y: My favorite memories are when we went together to get a manicure and pedicure. That was a lot of fun being fancy together. Then we went to Sweet Frogs. I also liked when we went to the movie theater together. That is always fun.
(But, … I seem to make Y follow the rules of two memories. Really, she just wasn’t feeling all that talkative today. And she was looking at me funny the whole time I was asking her these questions.)
What is one question you would like to ask your Mom?
Betty: I would want to know what she thinks of kids today compared to how I was as a child. Living is just so much faster and parents are struggling with raising their kids. I would want to know what she would do to help guide them today, when parents have to be so careful? I am so thankful that I raised my children in the time that they were raised. It was simpler times.
Janet: Why won’t you sell your house and move up here with me? <3
Sharon: Did you get to do all of the things you wanted to do?
Y: Do you like being a Mom?
On Being a Mom:
What are three adjectives to describe Motherhood:
Betty: This is too hard, Sharon. I can’t give you three words to describe Motherhood. I always wanted to be a mother. It was a goal I had when I was little. And when I became a Mom, I decided that I would be the best Mom ever. I enjoyed doing things with the children.
I always wanted the kids to get my advice on things.
I always think of the kids and how they needed me when they were scared or sick. I remember when the kids got their first jobs and how nervous they were. I remember the night before Jim started his first job at the radio station, I could hear him sighing heavily, frustrated because he couldn’t get to sleep. So I went in there and sat with him so he could get some sleep. He was so nervous.
I’ve enjoyed being a Mother so much. Jan is special. The boys are special. Chris is special to me. I worry about them all, but Chris is just so far away, I worry about him more.
Janet: Rewarding. Wonderful. Exhausting.
Sharon: Balancing. Engaging. Intentional.
What are two things that you are really good at as a Mom?
Betty: I was always really good at being there for them. Being there when they need me. I really tried to see to it that they had a good time. And I also tried to encourage them to go in God’s path and tried to teach them to let God lead. I wasn’t always good at that, but still tried to do that when I could.
Janet: I was always there for you. Even though I sometimes felt like I lost my temper, I feel like I always made sure you knew that I loved you. I feel like I did a good job…you and your brother make me very proud, so I must have done a good job.
Sharon: I am trying to be an intentional parent. I really work on ‘finding my zen’ when I get frustrated. I hear me saying things that I heard my Mom say, “Hurry, hurry, Momma’s getting tired…” I see my kiddos scurrying just like we did when I was a kid and my Momma would say the same thing. I think I’m fun and I try to play with you and have a good time, maybe not as much as they would like sometimes, but we try to play some games and make some memories.
What is one thing you would do differently?
Betty: I remember when we moved into our new house, everything had just been painted and we thought it was just perfect and beautiful. Just after we moved in, Tim put some history pictures on the wall in his bedroom. I was so aggravated with him that he put them on the wall with paste and I made him take them off. Of course, it made such a mess and pulled the paint off. If I had to do that over, I wouldn’t have made such a big deal out of that. Kids like to hang things on the wall, I would have let him keep those up because it was important to him. It was a big deal for a little boy. I also regret not getting a yearbook for Jan one year. At the time, I felt like it was that or getting groceries one week, but if I had to do it over…I would find a way to get it for her because it was important to her.
Janet: I wish I had had more patience.
Sharon: I feel like I’m still in the trenches, making adjustments daily. I wish I were more balanced in my days and weeks. I feel like Y is a little walking talking mirror of me as a kid. I see it as a responsibility to build resiliency. I want X and Y to be confident and compassionate. So, I want to make sure I am modeling this. Everyday. Tough work. Good work, but tough work.
Four Generations of Moms and Kids.
Things have changed and somehow stayed the same.
Moms show up and…
…Engage each day in action words.
I learned from the best.
Happy Mother’s Day.