Happy Smother’s Day!

I consider the ‘80s to be my decade. My thirteenth birthday was in 1980. I graduated from high school in ’85. By the end of the decade I was married and had my first child. The ‘90s passed by me in a blur of sleepless night, diaper changes and potty training. The ‘80s, however, hold a special place in my heart.

So, when ABC began airing The Goldbergs in the fall of 2013, I gave it a watch. I’ll admit, I didn’t really expect much from it. The ads the network aired leading up to the premier did not grab my attention. My husband, on the other hand, expects every sitcom to be great until proven otherwise. We rarely agree on sitcoms, so I was pleasantly surprised when we both found something to like in this new show.

Do I think it’s the funniest show I’ve watched? Not by a long shot. Friends holds that place of honor for me and I don’t see that changing. What do I like about The Goldbergs? The ‘80s references, of course! I remember the Cabbage Patch Doll mobs. I remember sitting in a theater and watching Lloyd Dobler holding his boom box over his head in Say Anything. I remember huge boom boxes! I might have even had one. What do I love about this show? The happy memories that come along with every one of those ‘80s references.

I’ve even learned something from The Goldbergs, a new word – smother. For those of you who don’t watch the show, a smother is an overbearing mother who smothers their child(ren) with too much attention. Get it? Beverly Goldberg is a classic smother.

I’ve learned something else. I had/have a smother and had no idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always known exactly who my mother is. I just didn’t know there was a name for it. I’m the only child of a working mother. If asked, I would have described her as overprotective and she was! Completely! All of you math majors out there can figure out how old I am as of my birthday last week. I’m definitely way past the age of needing a smother, but my mom hasn’t gotten the memo yet. Obviously, if she hasn’t by now, she isn’t going to. I’ve learned to live with it, however annoying it may be.

All of that was to say this, I am not the kind of parent my mother is. I think I have unknowingly gone out of my way to be a different kind of parent. I try not to smother my children. They’ve never had free rein, but as they’ve gotten older, they have also gotten more freedom, less constant supervision. We’ve trusted our kid enough to let them make their own, age-appropriate decisions. We’ve enforced consequences when necessary.

Even though I have tried to be the best possible mother, to make all the right decisions regarding my kids, to raise responsible, compassionate adults, there are days when I feel like a complete parental failure. I think any parent has days like that. Maybe it’s those moments of doubt that push us even harder to be better parents. That’s the goal, isn’t it, to be the best possible parent for your kids?

Yes, my mother is a smother, in every way possible. But, I know that, even though I’m an adult, she is still trying to be the best mother that she knows how to be. My choices most likely would never have been her choices, and I know many of hers would not have been mine. None of that matters, though, because at the end of the day, we can agree on one thing. Whether because of me or in spite of me, I have four amazing children. When Mom tells me I’ve done a great job raising them, I’m still a little girl looking for her mother’s approval and basking it.

So, whether you are a smother, a very laid-back mother or somewhere in between, have a wonderful Mother’s Day. And to my mom – Happy Smother’s Day, Mom! We love you!

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