Moms – love ’em or hate ’em?

photo credit: califmom via photopin cc

photo credit: califmom via photopin cc

I don’t know about you, but when I was a teen, I didn’t appreciate my mother very much. Sure, I loved her, but we butted heads a lot. Mostly because I was spoiled, stubborn, and selfish, but also because teen age years are when we want to break off and become our own person. It’s the stage between being a kid who idolizes her parents and being an adult who realizes how tough it is to be a parent. Depending on the relationship and the personalities involved, this can be a really tough transition.

Then, just when you think you’re done with the stages of child-parent relationships, you enter a new one. The time when your parent is getting older and they need to rely on you much like you used to rely on them. It’s as if the relationship flips. But you can’t treat your mom like a child, because (1) she’s an adult and (2) she’s still your mom. Another tough transition: learning how to care for someone but allowing them make their own decisions even when it causes you to worry. Ironically, this is probably exactly how a mother parenting a teenager feels. (I’m not quite there yet…)

So why all these thoughts on moms and life stages? 

Loraine and her mom

Loraine and her mom

I’m blogging today for my good friend Loraine Kemp because her mother fell and injured herself recently. I went through something similar with my own mother three years ago when my mom fell and broke her hip. Loraine’s mom is ten years older than my mom, but both ladies have reached what I would call “a very respectable age.” I don’t know Loraine’s mom, but I love this picture of the two of them. Doesn’t she look like a hoot? 😀

white oleanderI was thinking about moms in fiction and two stories jumped out to me. One I read quite a while ago, White Oleander by Janet Fitch (this was before I swore off any of Oprah’s recommended reads). White Oleander is about a really messed up mother whose poor decisions toss her child into the foster care system. The story is devastating to read, and while it ends on a semi-positive note, I can only imagine how much better a Christian version of this title laced with a hope would have been.

glass girlThe second is Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk who we interviewed on the blog before. In this story, the mother deals with severe depression after the death of one of her children. Having a mother dealing with her own issues leaves the surviving child floating out on her own. Sometimes the parent-child relationship switches before a mother gets to a respectable age, forcing a child to grow up or find solace elsewhere.

So what about you? Evil step-mothers aside, how are moms portrayed in fiction? What memorable mother-daughter relationships have left you either loving or hating a fiction mom?

And if you have a moment, please say a prayer for Loraine’s mother and a speedy recovery.

 

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8 thoughts on “Moms – love ’em or hate ’em?

  1. Thanks, Lisa, for bringing up this issue and for the kudos to Loraine’s mom. I’m praying her injury doesn’t dim her high spirits, at least not for long.
    In regard to your question about moms in fiction, I’ve been told that in juvenile fiction, including teen fiction, parents are supposed to be fringe characters, that the child/teen protagonist must figure out life on her own. And I resent that premise.
    It’s the parents’ job to help their children figure out life, and for the most part, parents do a good job. I’d like to see more fiction where the child has a problem, struggles to solve it and learn from it WITH the help of Mom AND Dad woven into the storyline. The Little House on the Prairie books did that to perfection, and I’ve recently learned that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote those stories based on what she WISHED her own family had been like.
    Today’s novels do the opposite. Most modern books I’ve read have broken homes, absentee parents, role reversals, and the MC must fend for herself. Wouldn’t it inspire our kids more if they desired to grow up and create healthy families like the ones they read about in books, even if their own childhood is cruddy?

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    • Sounds like you have a passion for this type of story. Maybe it’s a calling? 😉 it would be nice to see fiction address teen/parent interaction in a healthy way instead of lack of parental concern used as a plot device.

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  2. Lisa, this brought tears to my eyes! You are such a lovely person. Seriously! I identify only with stories where the mom is a strongly positive character. (either in the foreground or the background). My darling mom was both my dad (she took us fishing, camping, riding, and canoeing etc.) and my mom. I did have a dad, but he was not really a factor in my life. She was and always will be my hero. I just didn’t realize it as much when I was in my teens. I took her so much for granted while I was trying to ‘pull’ away and be myself. Right now, she is totally like a child, utterly dependent on people. Her memory has slipped, but under it all, you can still see one of the reasons she has lasted for 96 years. EVERYTHING anyone does for her in the hospital, at her home, family or otherwise is WONDERFUL. There really is not a negative comment in her head. EVER! That is just one of the thousands of things she has taught me. So when she insists I go home to have a break, I insist, “Mom, you were there for me, so I’m there for you. Forever! And thanks again, Lisa! (sniff!)

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    • We have a lot in common. My father died when I was 8, so my mom was mom and dad to me as well. We just went shopping and bought her a new sewing machine today. She was really jazzed about it. Although she told the lady at the store she was 89 (but she’s only 87 – LOL).

      I would love to be the kind of person who never complains and has encouragement to give everyone. Give your mom a big, but gentle, hug from me.

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  3. The best mom in literature is Marmee March from Little Women. She was a wise, strong, & Godly woman. She transferred her skills to her daughters as evidenced in Little Men.

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  4. I’m amazingly blessed with my parents. And my mom is someone I try to emulate on a daily basis. I consider her one of my closest friends. So positive moms in fiction are always a (too rare) treat. I hadn’t realized until looking through my list on Goodreads but mothers are so frequently absent!

    The first one that comes to my mind is actually from a book I haven’t read. Yet. Though I’ve been meaning to for a while. ABC Family filmed one season based on the books before canceling (my favorite shows ALWAYS get canceled) so it could be the books portray the mom a bit differently than the show did. But I absolutely loved the mother/daughter relationship in The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

    While Anne (of Green Gables) may have been an orphan, she grew up to be a sweet mother to her children. Oh – and Molly Weasley! Now there’s a woman who’s there for her family and loving to those who need a mother.

    I haven’t read The Atonement Child in years but I remember the story mainly involving the main character and her mother and possibly grandmother.

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